Everett Silvertips winger Cole Fonstad yells after scoring a goal against the Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 26 at Angel of the Winds Arena. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett Silvertips winger Cole Fonstad yells after scoring a goal against the Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 26 at Angel of the Winds Arena. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

POLL: Attending a Tips game at 50% capacity, yea or nay?

The WHL will only hold games once arenas are allowed to open to 50% capacity.

So how do you feel about 50% capacity?

Last week the WHL announced its return-to-play plan for the 2020-21 season, and the aspect that caught the eye was the requirement that arenas open to at least 50% capacity before games are played.

The junior hockey league, which includes the Everett Silvertips, was forced to shut down in March because of the coronavirus outbreak, leading to the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-20 season and all of the 2020 playoffs. Since then people wondered how the WHL would proceed with its 2020-21 season. Last Wednesday the league announced it was targeting Oct. 2 as the start date, and last Thursday commissioner Ron Robison held a virtual press conference to further hash out details about the plan.

Not everything about reopening has been determined, including the fact that the Oct. 2 target start date is fluid. But one thing Robison was definitive about was that the league needed something in the vicinity of 50% capacity at arenas before games could be played.

This is significant, as that is the type of number we have yet to see posted by sports leagues. Major professional sports that have already resumed competition (NASCAR, European soccer), as well as those that are in the process of restarting (NBA, NHL, MLS), are playing without fans in the stands. In Snohomish County, the one sports venue that’s set to resume is Evergreen Speedway, which beginning Saturday will start off by conducting races without fans, then hope to transition to 25% capacity.

So 50% capacity is something that hasn’t even entered the discussion yet as sports try to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The thing with the WHL is that, unlike pro sports leagues, the WHL depends upon attendance for its revenue. Pro sports have television contracts, but there’s no TV money coming in for the Silvertips and the rest of the WHL’s franchises, so playing in empty arenas isn’t a viable option financially. The league has determined that 50% capacity is required to generate enough revenue to operate.

But does 50% capacity at an indoor arena work with physical distancing measures? Evergreen Speedway is talking about 25% capacity, and that’s at a much larger facility that is outdoors, thus being less conducive to transmission of the virus. Would the indoor Angel of the Winds Arena realistically be able to create a seating plan and foot-traffic flow that ensures at least 6 feet distance between pairs or groups of spectators, so as to stay within distancing guidelines?

And most importantly, what about the fans? You are the ones who ultimately decide if this is a workable arrangement. Would you be comfortable attending a Silvertips game with Angel of the Winds Arena at 50% capacity? Let us know here:


Talk to us

More in Sports

Central Washington linebacker Donte Hamilton, a Kamiak High School alum. (Jacob Thompson / CWU Athletics)
Kamiak alum has been dominating force for CWU football team

Linebacker Donte Hamilton as been named GNAC Defensive Player of the Week three times in five weeks.

Arlington’s Levi Younger reaches out for a pass during the game against Marysville-Pilchuck on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington stuns Marysville Pilchuck in Wesco 3A North showdown

The Eagles stymie 3A No. 3-ranked Marysville Pilchuck’s high-powered ground attack in a 28-14 win.

The Herald's prep football roundup. (Photo by Elaine Thompson)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Oct. 15

Prep football roundup for Friday, Oct. 15 and Saturday, Oct. 16: (Note… Continue reading

UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich scores a touchdown next to Washington defensive back Asa Turner during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington falls to 2-4 with close home loss to UCLA

The Huskies fail to come up with a cluth drive late and fall to the Bruins 24-17.

Washington State offensive lineman Jarrett Kingston (52) lifts wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr. while celebrating Jackson's touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Washington State rallies to beat Stanford

Max Borghi scores with 1:30 left in the game as the Cougars come back for a close 34-31 win.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist, left, passes in front of Seattle Kraken defenseman Haydn Fleury during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Kraken lose to Blue Jackets in overtime

Brandon Tanev scores and Philipp Grubauer makes 23 saves, but Seattle drops its second game.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips blank T-birds, win 4th straight to open season

Jackson Berezowski scores twice and Koen MacInnes makes 31 saves in Everett’s 3-0 win over Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback Geno Smith passes against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Seattle. Smith came in while starting quarterback Russell Wilson had a hand injury evaluated. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Minus Wilson, Seahawks set to face Steelers in prime-time

Seattle heads into the Sunday night game with a backup QB and a defense that needs to improve.

Jelani Guerrero returns an interception during practice Thursday afternoon at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett on October 14, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Switch to wide receiver pays off for Archbishop Murphy senior

Jelani Guerrero moved from running back to wideout and is now the area’s leading receiver.

Most Read