World Juniors, Flames, Oilers move to 50% capacity with new restrictions

Dec 21 2021, 11:48 pm

Sporting events in Alberta are part of the province’s latest restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

With the highly contagious Omicron variant causing cases to soar across the province, Alberta health officials have restricted capacity for events with more than 1,000 attendees to 50%. That means that the upcoming World Junior Championship, which begins on Boxing Day in Edmonton and Red Deer, will be played at half capacity.

The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers will also play games with half as many fans as usual going forward.

To ensure better mask-wearing compliance, food and beverage service will no longer be available for fans in attendance.

“We need to avoid super-spreader events,” said Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping.

The 50% capacity limit matches the restrictions put in place in Ontario and British Columbia. Quebec has taken it a step further, banning fans from attending games entirely.

The capacity limit presents a logistical nightmare for Hockey Canada, as well as the Flames and Oilers, as many tickets that have already been sold will no longer be valid. Those organizations will need to reach out to ticket buyers to offer refunds.

“The event ticketing team is currently addressing the implementation of this change and will be in contact with all ticket holders by the end of the day on Thursday, Dec. 23,” says Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney. No further ticket information is available at this time, but we thank our ticket holders for their patience and request that they please wait to receive the detailed communication before inquiring about next steps.

“Hockey Canada fully support the direction taken by the Province of Alberta, and we will continue to do our part to maintain the health and safety of all World Juniors participants and the community at large.”

All 10 countries competing in this year’s tournament have already arrived in Alberta and are restricting their movement to the arena and hotel in an effort to reduce the chances of an outbreak within their teams.

Pre-tournament games begin on Thursday in Edmonton and Red Deer, including a game between Canada and Russia at Rogers Place.

Rob WilliamsRob Williams

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