Everett’s Olen Zellweger controls the puck against the Saskatoon Blades Friday evening at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on November 22, 2019. The Silvertips will play Friday without fans due on-going concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Everett’s Olen Zellweger controls the puck against the Saskatoon Blades Friday evening at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on November 22, 2019. The Silvertips will play Friday without fans due on-going concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Tips to play final regular-season home game without fans

Everett’s game against the Victoria Royals on March 20 will be closed to the public.

The Everett Silvertips announced Wednesday that their final home game of the 2019-20 Western Hockey League regular season will be closed to the public.

The announcement came after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee banned public gatherings of more than 250 people in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties through the end of the month in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The game, against the Victoria Royals, is scheduled for March 20 at Angel of the Winds Arena.

Everett also is slated to host first-round playoff games on March 27 and 28 against an opponent to be determined. The Silvertips would prefer to play those games in Everett — even without fans — rather than move to a neutral site or start the best-of-seven series on the road, said Zoran Rajcic, the team’s chief operating officer.

“We had a consultation with (general manager) Garry Davidson, myself and (head coach) Dennis Williams on why a neutral-site game isn’t that advantageous for us,” Rajcic said. “(Fans) might be able to go — I don’t know what the availability of other facilities would be — but we do know that it’s taking us away from the stuff we’ve done here. We’ve been here since August 22 and 23, the players are used to the facilities, so why take (the players and coaches) away from the norm?”

Rajcic did not rule out neutral-site games if the ban extends further into the playoffs, but reiterated the team would like to stay in Everett if possible.

In a statement on their website, the Silvertips said “the safety and well being of our fans is top priority” and that “all tickets purchased for March 20 will be honored at a future Silvertips home game of the purchaser’s choice.” That includes credits or refunds for season-ticket holders who already have purchased ticket packages for next season, Rajcic said.

“Obviously they paid for something, and we are going to honor that,” Rajcic said. “We do understand where the fan base is coming from in that they’ve given us money for our product and that’s a ticket to a game and we’re going to be honoring that, and we’ll be working with everyone to make sure they get what they paid for.”

The March 20 game, and any other games played at Angel of the Winds Arena this month, will be broadcast on the league’s “WHL Live” streaming service.

With no fans to accommodate, the Silvertips have discussed the possibility of moving up the 7:35 p.m. puck drop for the March 20 game, Davidson said.

Playing a game in front of a nearly empty arena will be a bizarre experience, the players said, something akin to a training-camp scrimmage or a youth-league game.

“It will be a lot different than like 8,000 cowbells going off,” Silvertips forward Gage Goncalves said. “You’re definitely going to be able to hear all the chatter and stuff from the refs and from the benches. It’s definitely like we’re back at 13 years old again.”

“Obviously it’s going to be a lot different,” Silvertips captain Bryce Kindopp added. “We’re used to the big boost from the crowd here, but obviously for safety of everybody and ourselves, it’s something you have to do. It’s going to be weird, it’s going to be quiet, but we can’t let it affect the way we play.”

The Silvertips are exploring ways to augment the fan-less experience at Angel of the Winds Arena.

“Because we don’t have to put anything on in the arena to satisfy our sponsors, we can … show messages (from) our fans so our players can feel like they’re a part of it …,” Rajcic said. “Barring anything that wouldn’t allow us to play right now, that’s what we want to do.”

On Tuesday, the WHL released a statement regarding the recent COVID-19 outbreak in North America, urging players and team personnel to “maintain good hygiene practices” to help stem the spread of the virus. The precautions include the elimination of handshakes between teammates, opponents and officials; no sharing of water bottles and towels, and avoiding direct contact with fans, including high-fives and signing autographs.

The Silvertips also announced Tuesday that their weekly radio show at Sporty’s Beef & Brew in south Everett has been canceled until further notice.

While the virus has been in Washington state for weeks, it’s only recently spread to Canada, which reported its first “community case” last Thursday.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Silvertips’ Niko Huuhtanen and Giants’ Jaden Lipinski fight for the puck during the playoff match up against the Vancouver Giants on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips will look to replace Huuhtanen in CHL import draft

The standout forward who scored 37 goals this past season recently signed a professional contract to play in Finland.

FILE - UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on March 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA and Southern California are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in a seismic change that could lead to another major realignment of college sports. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, June 30, 2022, on condition of anonymity because the schools' talks with the Big Ten have not been made public said the schools have taken steps to request an invitation to join the conference. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
UCLA, USC leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The two schools announce they will be exiting the Pac-12 in 2024 in a major blow to the viability of the conference.

Seattle Mariners' Carlos Santana helps Cal Raleigh at home after they scored against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 30, 2022, in Seattle. Raleigh hit a two-run triple and scored on a throwing error. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Rodriguez, Raleigh lead Mariners over Athletics

The young standouts each come up with big hits in Seattle’s 8-6 victory over Oakland.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox pitchers fan 19 in win over Emeralds

Alberto Rodriguez adds a two-run blast in Everett’s 4-3 victory.

The roof-top sign for Climate Pledge Arena is shown next to the Space Needle, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, ahead of the NHL hockey Seattle Kraken's home opener Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks in Seattle. The historic angled roof of the former KeyArena was preserved, but everything else inside the venue, which will also host concerts and be the home of the WNBA Seattle Storm basketball team, is brand new. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle to host NBA preseason game between Blazers, Clippers

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell declined to comment on any recent conversations with NBA officials about expansion to the city.

Evergreen Speedway remains closed due the stay-at-home order while NASCAR will run it's first race since the pandemic began on Sunday. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: Evans tops podium at Mark Galloway Shootout

Also, EvCC athletes named All-American, Tulalip native signs with MLB organization and more.

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas (31), wide receiver Cade Johnson (88), and wide receiver Aaron Fuller (13) walk off the field after NFL football practice Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seahawks announce training camp registration date for fans

Fans must register through the team’s website starting Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Rodriguez hits 12th home run, Mariners topple Orioles

Seattle tops Baltimore 9-3 for its seventh win in the past nine games.

Dallas Wings' Kayla Thornton, front left, and Marina Mabrey, right, defend as Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles (31) shoots in the second half of a WNBA basketball game, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Storm sign former MVP Tina Charles

The 33-year-old center joins a roster that now has 4 former No. 1 overall picks.

Most Read