When the Powell River Kings return to active regular season play in October, the BC Hockey League club will be facing BC public health restrictions that will limit attendance at Hap Parker Arena to 50 per cent of capacity.
According to Nadine Porchetta, Kings’ director of marketing and business operations, when the team has its home opener doubleheader on October 8 and 9 against Nanaimo Clippers, the team and its fans must follow regulations set out by the public health officer.
The way the public health order reads, the Kings are allowed to have 50 per cent of occupancy, said Porchetta.
“We are going to be able to have 850 people,” she added. “Everyone will need to show proof of vaccination. Everyone has to have one vaccination until October 24, and after that you must have double vaccination within the past seven days.
“That will be checked at the door. We are going to hire two vaccine checkers and they will be stationed at our main entrance upstairs. They have to check everybody every single time they come in.”
Porchetta said there is also a mask mandate, and the building is following that regulation, so fans must wear masks while they are attending Kings games, unless they are eating or drinking, which is as per regulations.
The cap on people attending Kings games is close to what the team was averaging before the pandemic. In the 2019/2020 season, the average for a game was about 886 spectators, which was up a little compared to previous years.
“However, I would say 850, for us, is a pretty decent night,” said Porchetta. “We’re happy with that number we’ve been allowed to have.
“Things can always change and they could lift this come January – who knows? Realistically, the numbers are pretty good for us.”
Porchetta said the team has had questions about vaccinations from season ticket holders. She said some of them were very concerned about coming back if there were no parameters in place.
“The fact that there is this vaccine rule has made people feel a lot safer,” said Porchetta. “We’re obviously going to lose those people who are not vaccinated, but from what I can see right now, numbers are up for season ticket holders. That’s your only guaranteed way to get into the building.
“We will admit season ticket holders first, corporate season tickets second, billet families and parents third and whatever’s left over will be available for general admission. On some days, that could be a very small number, or none at all. The best way to get into the building is to purchase season tickets.”
Porchetta said season tickets are still available.
“You’re going to have a seat and know where your seat is,” said Porchetta. “It would streamline everything for everybody.”
Porchetta said there is a lot of excitement and pent-up demand for live hockey. She said this year is going to be a little bit different because it will be strictly hockey at Kings' games.
“A lot of the things we’ve done in years past, such as being able to have entertainment in intermissions, we are not able to do because of COVID-19 and because of regulations,” added Porchetta. “You’re buying the hockey experience this year. We’re just happy and the players are happy they will be able to play in front of their hometown crowd. It’s a million per cent better than the bubble we had last hockey season.”