For Avalanche season-ticket holders, this morning might have felt like Christmas and a birthday combined. Starting April 2, when the Avs play the St. Louis Blues, a total of 4,050 fans will be allowed inside Ball Arena to, you know, watch the game. It will mark the first time in nearly 13 months since a paying customer walks through the turnstiles at Ball.
“We are thrilled to welcome Avalanche and Nuggets fans to the newly named Ball Arena for the first time,” said KSE chairman and owner Stan Kroenke. “We are grateful to local, state and national health authorities who collaborated with us to get to this point. We also would like to thank our partners at the NHL and NBA, who have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe return for our fans. This is a major first step in our quest to have a fully packed arena again with some of the greatest fans in sports.”
The city of Denver is currently at the same color yellow on the “Covid Dial” that is supposed to make it prohibitive for fans to gather indoors. On Feb. 26, Colorado Hockey Now wrote a story with a spokesman from CDPHE saying, essentially, “they haven’t asked yet” when questioned as to why there were no public plans for fans to come back to the building – when the Colorado Rockies had just been issued a “variance” with the state/city to have fans back at Coors Field April 1.
KSE reacted defensively, calling the CHN report “inaccurate”, with KSE’s Matt Bell saying on Altitude TV later that night that, because Denver was still on yellow, they couldn’t ask. The rest of the Avs and Denver media lapped it up with no questions asked. It’s still yellow, as of this morning, but, hey, here we are. I guess they could ask after all. Here’s the letter of approval, dated March 16, from the state to Bell, which CHN obtained:
“It’s really exciting. It’s hard to remember the last time we played in front of fans. They really bring excitement and energy. That’s why these guys play, to perform in front of people. It’s an exciting time for our hockey team as we get into the second half of the season,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said.
Per Avs release, the fans allowed in at first will mostly be restricted to existing season-ticket holders:
“First access to tickets will be given to Avalanche and Nuggets ticket plan holders and partners through a series of presales. A very limited number of seats will be available to the general public. Ticket sales information for games with fans starting on April 2 will be sent to ticket plan holders through email in the coming days. This information will also be updated on ColoradoAvalanche.com and DenverNuggets.com.”
On March 31, for the game against the Arizona Coyotes, first responders and health workers will be allowed inside.