Large indoor crowds return to Maritimes as QMJHL regular season starts
For the first time since the pandemic began, Centre 200 in Sydney lifted capacity restrictions for Friday night's home opener between the Cape Breton Eagles and Halifax Mooseheads.
"I think it's great for the kids," said fan Pat Lyons. "They finally get to have some fans cheering them on. I think that's a big part of the game."
To enter the building you have to show proof of full vaccination status and a government issued ID.
Masks are also still mandatory, but distancing rules are not in effect.
"I think a lot of people want to get back to regular life, so if that's what it takes we're game," said Melanie Lyons.
Just days after being awarded the 2022 Memorial Cup, the Saint John Sea Dogs were also hoping for a smooth transition with a large crowd expected Friday night.
"When you can have full capacity in the building it adds to the energy," said Trevor Georgie of the Saint John Seadogs. "Our phones have been ringing off the hook in terms of people wanting to get in and be a part of it, so full capacity is great."
The Halifax Wanderers have already welcomed thousands to a game last month at their outdoor venue.
Meanwhile, the Mooseheads will host their opener at Scotiabank Centre Saturday night, with a capacity of 10,000 spectators.
Back in Sydney, not everyone it seems is comfortable attending these large events.
"Judging by the ticket numbers, they're not really where they would be on a normal opening night, so I think people are cautious coming into public spaces with large crowds," said Centre 200 manager Paul MacDonald. "It's going to be our job to try and easy their minds and hopefully over time they'll come back to watch live events."