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Craig’s Corner: Fan Free Zone

Photo by James Carey Lauder

Craig’s Corner: Fan Free Zone

Being from Manitoba, I love the Winnipeg Whiteout. No, not the ever-lingering blizzard we are gifted with a couple times a year that requires back-breaking shovelling of the driveway over and over again because it just doesn’t stop snowing, but rather what takes place inside and around Bell MTS Place during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It’s too bad that won’t happen this year.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs will take place without fans. How crazy is that going to be? The fans are the ones that make the atmosphere what it is. Who will ‘boo’ the best player on the other team? Who will yell ‘shoot’ when your team touches the puck? Who will let the referees know how awful they are at their job? I don’t know how the best players and referees in the world are going to know what to do without guidance from section 219 from someone with two beers in their hands.

All kidding aside, it will be strange to watch a hockey game being played in an empty arena. How can we make the most of this?

First of all, let’s mic up the players. Obviously in this scenario vulgar language is the biggest concern, and even if there is a tape delay there could be a lengthy *beep* multiple times throughout the broadcast.

Ok, scrap that. Let’s mic up one player per team and hope for the best, including live interviews with the broadcast booth during warmups.

Second, can we fill the area with stuffed animals and cardboard cut outs? I saw that a baseball league overseas was doing this and I think it’s fantastic.

Third, let’s play with camera angles. As fans we should have the option to watch the regular broadcast, or to view from a camera placed in the stands at center ice, or in the nose bleeds, or directly behind the net. This will give us as to the ‘true fan experience’ as we can get amid a global pandemic.

Pretty soon I’ll actually be writing about the games being played, but until then I’ll keep writing about a camera that is placed in between a Spongebob and Patrick cardboard cutout on the red line.

Oh boy… hockey you can return any day now.

Craig Neufeld is a passionate hockey writer and fan and has dedicated much of his life to playing and working within the sports world. From rural Manitoba, when Craig is not working, he enjoys playing hockey and curling in winter, as well as being on the golf course or baseball diamond in summer.

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