The Nashville Predators will be among the first NHL teams to play a game in a nearly-empty arena, as the COVID-19 virus continues to spur concerns across the world.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that all upcoming games will be closed to the public until further notice. That includes Saturday’s game between the Blue Jackets and Predators. If you planned to attend the game, refunds will be handled through your point of purchase, (i.e. whichever vendor you used to buy your tickets.)
Team personnel, NHL officials, arena staff, and media will still be allowed to attend the games.
The move is in response to an upcoming order from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine prohibiting large gatherings, including indoor sporting events.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine just specified that the order to be issued in the next 24-36 hours will be that no spectators will be allowed at games. That’s NCAA, #CBJ, #Cavs, etc.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 11, 2020
Media and staff will be allowed, just not spectators.
Governor DeWine had issued a recommendation earlier this week along the same lines. Despite that, the Blue Jackets had planned to play their upcoming slate of games as planned, fans and all. However, those plans changed after Ohio’s fourth confirmed case of COVID-19.
This obviously impacts more than just hockey. However, in other hockey news, the first round of the NCAA Tournament was supposed to be played in Dayton next week, while Cleveland was set to host several second and third round match-ups.
We’ll obviously have more on this as it develops. You can also read the full statement from the Columbus Blue Jackets below.
Full #CBJ statement on the upcoming home game schedule. pic.twitter.com/krGEcEnd76— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 11, 2020
The Columbus Blue Jackets are aware of Governor DeWine’s announcement today that an order prohibiting mass gatherings in the state of Ohio is forthcoming. We have been in contact with the National Hockey League regarding this matter and will abide by the state’s mandate. Remaining home games while the order is in effect, including tomorrow vs. Pittsburgh, will be played as scheduled, but with restricted attendance in compliance with today’s announcement. Admission to games will be limited to home and visiting club personnel, credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff and NHL officials. The games will be closed to the public. The health and well-being of our community is our priority and we appreciate the understanding of our fans, corporate partners and guests under these extraordinary circumstances. Our games will continue to be televised regionally on FOX Sports Ohio and available on the Blue Jackets Radio Network, including flagship station 97.1 The Fan or CD102.5 FM (select games) in Columbus. The club will work with season ticket, club and premium seat holders on appropriate credits or refunds for affected games, while single-game buyers will receive a refund through their point of purchase. The club will be communicating to season ticket holders, partners and other affected parties with additional information soon.