Speaking on a conference call with reporters on Monday afternoon, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly provided an update on the potential of fans attending games in the near future.
As of this week, three NHL teams – the Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes – plan to have limited crowds in the building when the 2020-21 season starts this week.
The Columbus Blue Jackets may soon be joining that group.
Three NHL teams will start the season with limited fans in the building: Arizona, Florida and Dallas.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 11, 2021
Columbus and Pittsburgh hope to join them soon, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
A couple hours up I-71, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had fans at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse since the NBA began its pandemic-shortened season. Ohio governor Mike DeWine gave them the go-ahead for a percentage-based (10%) crowd that may increase as the season continues–and as more of the population becomes vaccinated for COVID-19.
The Blue Jackets, if Daly's words come to fruition, would likely be looking at a similar situation.
For the time being, it's expected that Columbus will not have fans in Nationwide Arena for its season opener next week against the Tampa Bay Lightning.