Chris Johnston: Ontario changing regulations to allow 9,500 fans at Maple Leafs pre-season game in Scotiabank Arena, sources say

The Ontario government is changing regulations that will allow the Maple Leafs to open their pre-season in front of a half-full Scotiabank Arena this weekend, according to sources.Approximately 9,500 fans will be permitted for Saturday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.Provincial regulations had previously limited the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Ottawa Senators to a maximum of 1,000 fans per event. That number is being increased to 50 per cent of building capacity, with an eye toward bumping the amount of fans further over time if things progress well.The Leafs and Raptors have already announced a policy that requires fans attending games this season to be vaccinated. Those with a verified medical exemption must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.News of fans returning to games will play well inside the Maple Leafs dressing room. They finished the 2019-20 season in a bubble and then played another 56 regular-season games last year inside empty arenas.“To have that again, I think, is going to be remarkable and pretty special,” captain John Tavares said Wednesday as training camp opened. “I’ve truly missed it.”“It’s awesome just to think of fans. Whatever the number is, we’re excited,” added goaltender Jack Campbell. “Get the excitement in the building. You know somebody scores a big goal, everybody’s going crazy, there’s nothing like it.”The Leafs last played in front of a sold-out building on March 10, 2020 — drawing 19,124 fans at Scotiabank Arena for a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning two days before the NHL paused its season because of the pandemic.They were permitted to have 550 vaccinated health-care workers in the lower bowl for Game 7 of their first-round series against Montreal on May 31.Chris Johnston is a Toronto-based journalist with a new gaming company. His work will be seen on the website and app for the new gaming company, and also in the Toronto Star. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterchris

Chris Johnston: Ontario changing regulations to allow 9,500 fans at Maple Leafs pre-season game in Scotiabank Arena, sources say

The Ontario government is changing regulations that will allow the Maple Leafs to open their pre-season in front of a half-full Scotiabank Arena this weekend, according to sources.

Approximately 9,500 fans will be permitted for Saturday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Provincial regulations had previously limited the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Ottawa Senators to a maximum of 1,000 fans per event. That number is being increased to 50 per cent of building capacity, with an eye toward bumping the amount of fans further over time if things progress well.

The Leafs and Raptors have already announced a policy that requires fans attending games this season to be vaccinated. Those with a verified medical exemption must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

News of fans returning to games will play well inside the Maple Leafs dressing room. They finished the 2019-20 season in a bubble and then played another 56 regular-season games last year inside empty arenas.

“To have that again, I think, is going to be remarkable and pretty special,” captain John Tavares said Wednesday as training camp opened. “I’ve truly missed it.”

“It’s awesome just to think of fans. Whatever the number is, we’re excited,” added goaltender Jack Campbell. “Get the excitement in the building. You know somebody scores a big goal, everybody’s going crazy, there’s nothing like it.”

The Leafs last played in front of a sold-out building on March 10, 2020 — drawing 19,124 fans at Scotiabank Arena for a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning two days before the NHL paused its season because of the pandemic.

They were permitted to have 550 vaccinated health-care workers in the lower bowl for Game 7 of their first-round series against Montreal on May 31.

Chris Johnston is a Toronto-based journalist with a new gaming company. His work will be seen on the website and app for the new gaming company, and also in the Toronto Star. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterchris

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Blue Jays working with province to increase capacity for fans at Rogers Centre during final homestand

The Blue Jays are hoping to boost fan support for their final homestand of the regular season, as well as a potential playoff run.The club announced on Thursday it is working with provincial health officials on increasing ballpark capacity, in line with all public health protocols. Additional tickets will be sold for the team’s final six home games.In the event that capacity limits are not approved by the government in time, “impacted ticket purchasers will be directly notified of their ticket cancellation and issued a refund via their original method of payment,” according to the Jays.The Jays returned to the Rogers Centre on July 30, 670 days after its last game in city because of border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has since been playing in front of up to 15,000 fans, under Stage 3 of Ontario’s recovery plan.“The Blue Jays are in the final days of a heated postseason wild card race and need fan support more than ever to create the home field advantage that our fans and team deserve down the stretch,” the team said in a statement. The Jays are now a half-game behind the Yankees for the second wild-card spot after Thursday’s action with a little more than a week left in the season.Toronto is expected to release extra seats in the 100 and 200 levels and open up sections in the 500 level, with tickets in that level starting at $15. Rogers Centre is not expected to return to full capacity with the sale of the additional tickets but the extra seats could represent a good bump in crowd size. As of the most recent homestand, which began on Sept. 13, the organization is requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all fans aged 12 and older entering Rogers Centre. A negative COVID-19 test is no longer acceptable, except for individuals with a doctor’s note indicating they cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions.The Jays play the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre next week from Tuesday to Thursday and the Baltimore Orioles from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3, in the final two series of the regular season. Laura Armstrong is a Star sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

Blue Jays working with province to increase capacity for fans at Rogers Centre during final homestand

The Blue Jays are hoping to boost fan support for their final homestand of the regular season, as well as a potential playoff run.

The club announced on Thursday it is working with provincial health officials on increasing ballpark capacity, in line with all public health protocols. Additional tickets will be sold for the team’s final six home games.

In the event that capacity limits are not approved by the government in time, “impacted ticket purchasers will be directly notified of their ticket cancellation and issued a refund via their original method of payment,” according to the Jays.

The Jays returned to the Rogers Centre on July 30, 670 days after its last game in city because of border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has since been playing in front of up to 15,000 fans, under Stage 3 of Ontario’s recovery plan.

“The Blue Jays are in the final days of a heated postseason wild card race and need fan support more than ever to create the home field advantage that our fans and team deserve down the stretch,” the team said in a statement.

The Jays are now a half-game behind the Yankees for the second wild-card spot after Thursday’s action with a little more than a week left in the season.

Toronto is expected to release extra seats in the 100 and 200 levels and open up sections in the 500 level, with tickets in that level starting at $15. Rogers Centre is not expected to return to full capacity with the sale of the additional tickets but the extra seats could represent a good bump in crowd size.

As of the most recent homestand, which began on Sept. 13, the organization is requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all fans aged 12 and older entering Rogers Centre. A negative COVID-19 test is no longer acceptable, except for individuals with a doctor’s note indicating they cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions.

The Jays play the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre next week from Tuesday to Thursday and the Baltimore Orioles from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3, in the final two series of the regular season.

Laura Armstrong is a Star sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

Source : Toronto Star More   

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