With news yesterday that the province of Ontario is going into a lockdown starting Christmas Eve, the NHL's return to play plan for the 2021 season has hit a huge snag. What happens to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators? And what about the San Jose Sharks? Santa Clara County in California, home of the Sharks, has banned contact sports and they'll start their training camp in Arizona.
And then there are reports that teams like the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers will allow some fans to attend games. It's all so confusing... but thankfully David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period has compiled a tidy little list of all the attendance restrictions and spectator protocols for all 31 NHL markets.
Check it out:
Anaheim – Orange County is currently in its Purple, Tier 1 phase, which does not allow fans at games. These orders run through Dec. 27 but are reportedly expected to be extended until the middle of January.
Arizona – Coyotes CEO and President Xavier Gutierrez addressed the media earlier today and confirmed the Club will open the season (Jan. 14 vs. San Jose) with “limited seating capacity.” Details will become available in the near future.
Boston – As of now, the Bruins are not permitted to host fans. According to the TD Garden website, as of Dec. 4, the arena was “working closely with state, city, and public health officials along with the NBA & NHL to develop and review plans to safely welcome fans back to the arena.”
Buffalo – The state of New York does not currently permit fans to attending professional sporting events.
Calgary – Alberta continues to discuss having games take place in Calgary and Edmonton with the NHL. It’s expected to be allowed, but fans are not going to be permitted to attend games any time soon.
Carolina – The Hurricanes are not permitted to allow fans to attend games at the start of the season; that may alter as the season progresses.
Chicago – The Bulls recently announced that they will not be hosting fans in the United Center for the start of their season, and the same is expected for the Blackhawks and their home games.
Colorado – Fans are currently not permitted to attend pro sports games at Ball Arena.
Columbus – The Blue Jackets have not yet submitted their venue plan to the Columbus Public Health for review, a city spokesperson told me on Monday. However, under the state of Ohio’s regulations, the Jackets may have up to 300 spectators for their games once the NHL season starts.
Dallas – Stars CEO and President Brad Alberts confirmed the team will have fans for home games at American Airlines Center, but the final capacity number (expected to be around 5,000 to start) is not yet finalized.
Detroit – So far, neither the Red Wings nor the Pistons can have fans at Little Caesars Arena for their start of their respective seasons. Once restrictions begin to ease, season ticket holders (Winged Wheel Nation members) will have first priority for attending home games.
Edmonton – See Calgary.
Florida – There will be a limited capacity permitted. Details will be announced in the near future.
Los Angeles – Kings President Luc Robitaille confirmed “we will not be able to host fans at STAPLES Center at this time.”
Minnesota – It’s unclear when/if the Wild will be able to have fans at their home games this season. Any updates are not expected until January.
Montreal – Quebec Premier Francois Legault said last week the province’s current public health measures shouldn't get in the way of the Montreal Canadiens practicing and playing games, though the province continues its discussions with the NHL this week. Fans, however, are unlikely to be allowed in Bell Centre for quite some time.
Nashville – It’s not yet known how many fans will be able to attend Predators games at the start of the season, if any. An update is expected once we roll into January.
New Jersey – In an email to season ticket holders on Monday, the Devils confirmed they will be “be starting the 2020-21 season at Prudential Center without fans in attendance” due to current local and state attendance capacity mandates.
NY Islanders – The state of New York does not currently permit fans to attending professional sporting events.
NY Rangers – See above.
Ottawa – The province of Ontario, who announced a provincewide 4-week shutdown starting Dec. 26, is working with the NHL to allow home games to occur, but fans will not be permitted to attend games in the foreseeable future.
Philadelphia – Current state orders stipulate that spectators are not permitted at professional sports events in Pennsylvania. These orders run until January 4, upon which an update is expected.
Pittsburgh – See Philly (not a shot at Penguins fans). On Monday morning, the Penguins announced on Twitter that once “fans are permitted to attend games in a limited capacity, Penguins season ticket holders will receive priority access to available tickets, likely be a lottery system.”
San Jose – Professional contact sports are temporarily prohibited in Santa Clara County until January 8. The Sharks are holding their training camp in Arizona and may be forced to start the season there, or in another NHL city, if the county’s orders are extended. Fans are not expected for the foreseeable future.
St. Louis – Enterprise Center is limited to 50% total capacity, along with additional restrictions, however a city official told me Monday they are in conversation with the NHL and the Blues “about developing a plan that could allow fans into the Enterprise Center over time, taking a phased approach,” and details should be released after the holidays.
Tampa Bay – A decision on capacity for Lightning fans has not yet been determined, but the expectation is that an allowance will be made. The Toronto Raptors, who are playing in Tampa this NBA season, are permitted up to 3,800 fans per home game.
Toronto – Ontario is extending its lockdown until January 25, but professional sports teams are allowed to practice under the current measures. The province continues to finalize details with the NHL to allow home games to take place, but fans will not be permitted to attend those games in the near future.
Vancouver – As it currently stands, the province of B.C. is objecting to having the Canucks host games at Rogers Arena, let alone welcome fans. Talks with the NHL and NHLPA continue. If/when the Canucks are allowed to play games at home, fans are not expected for the foreseeable future.
Vegas – Earlier this month, Golden Knights owner Bill Foley said he does not expect to have fans attend games at the start of the season. It is unclear when local restrictions may lift.
Washington – Right now, fans are not permitted at Capital One Arena to watch Capitals or Wizards games, but the teams are hopeful that will change at some point during their seasons.
Winnipeg – Manitoba’s Provincial Response Level is categorized as “critical,” and those measures are currently in place through Jan. 8. The Jets can practice, and it sounds like the province is on board to allow the team to host home games, but fans are not expected to be allowed any time soon.