The Winnipeg Jets will have a live, in-person cheering section for the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Just one day after Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced that the government was not currently considering the idea of allowing fan attendance at Bell MTS Place, Manitoba’s Premier Brian Pallister painted a different picture.
In his afternoon media availability, Pallister indicated that a “small number of fans” would be present at the downtown arena beginning Game 1 on Wednesday as the Jets host the Montreal Canadiens in a best-of-seven series.
BREAKING: Brian Pallister says to expect some #NHLJets fans in attendance at Bell MTS Place for Game 1 of the second round against Montreal on Wednesday.
It appears as though the provincial government has changed its tune. https://t.co/oijhiH150m
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) June 1, 2021
Reiterating that the process will be done in a safe manner, Pallister said that the allowance of a “limited number” of fans in attendance will follow the Province’s Public Health Order. A select few fully-vaccinated healthcare workers and family members of Winnipeg Jets players will be grouped in designated areas while taking in the action in-person.
“In conjunction with today’s announcement by the Province of Manitoba, the Winnipeg Jets are pleased to confirm Bell MTS Place will host up to 500 fully-vaccinated healthcare workers for both Games 1 and 2 of its Round 2 Stanley Cup series versus the Montreal Canadiens,” the Jets wrote in a statement.
This will be the first NHL game – or any professional sporting event for that matter – attended by spectators since a March 9, 2020 victory over the visiting Arizona Coyotes. By the time puck drops on Game 1 of the second round on Wednesday evening, it will have been 450 days.
Winnipeg will be the third Canadian NHL city to allow spectators into its area following COVID-19 lockdowns, joining the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, which opened their respective doors for back-to-back games this past Saturday and Monday.
Manitoba remains atop the charts when it comes to COVID-19 cases per capita across Canada. On Tuesday, the province announced 232 new cases – including 168 in Winnipeg – while also reporting three new deaths, two of which were in relation to the B.1.17. variant. Manitoba currently has 4,333 active cases province-wide and has surpassed 1,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
Wednesday’s game features a 6:30 PM central start time and will be available for viewers to watch live on Sportsnet and CBC.