Blue Jackets Become First NHL Team To Announce That They’ll Play Home Games With No Fans Due To Coronavirus

AR-306099826Photo: The Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced on Wednesday that their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena on Thursday will be closed to the public after the state of Ohio banned mass gatherings due to the coronavirus earlier in the day and that it will remain in effect for all remaining home games.

Only home and visiting club personnel, credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff, and NHL officials will be allowed to attend Blue Jackets’ games going forward.

The Blue Jackets became the first NHL team to do this. In European leagues, hockey teams have been playing in empty arenas while some leagues have even canceled the rest of their seasons.

Monumental Sports announced on Wednesday that Capital One Arena will remain open to the public for Washington Capitals and Wizards games in addition to other events. Washington mayor Murial Bowser declared a state of emergency across the city later on.

The Capitals visit the Blue Jackets on Thursday, March 19.

The San Jose Sharks also announced that they will play their final three home games of March without any fans in attendance.

The NCAA announced that the 2020 March Madness Tournament will only be open to the teams and close family.

From The Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets are aware of Governor DeWine’s announcement today that an order prohibiting mass gatherings in the state of Ohio is forthcoming. We have been in contact with the National Hockey League regarding this matter and will abide by the state’s mandate. Remaining home games while the order is in effect, including tomorrow vs. Pittsburgh, will be played as scheduled, but with restricted attendance in compliance with today’s announcement.

Admission to games will be limited to home and visiting club personnel, credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff and NHL officials. The games will be closed to the public.

The health and well-being of our community is our priority and we appreciate the understanding of our fans, corporate partners and guests under these extraordinary circumstances. Our games will continue to be televised regionally on FOX Sports Ohio and available on the Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station 97.1 The Fan or CD102.5 FM (select games) in Columbus.

The club will work with season ticket, club and premium seat holders on appropriate credits or refunds for affected games, while single-game buyers will receive a refund through their point of purchase. The club will be communicating to season ticket holders, partners and other affected parties with additional information soon.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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