Fans will be back in the stands for New Brunswick's major junior hockey teams, but it's likely only season ticket holders will be able to attend.
Seating has been reduced to almost 25 per cent at the Avenir Centre for the Moncton Wildcats games and the TD Station for the Saint John Sea Dogs. It's also down to almost half at the K.C. Irving Arena for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Reduced seating is mandatory to maintain physical distancing.
Representatives for the teams are making a big push for season tickets, and if they sell out the arena with people willing to commit to around 30 games, there won't be any room for one-game attendees.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it's all season ticket holder because the pre-sell is doing really well," said Titan manager Sylvain Couturier.
Courtney Huestis, marketing and communications manager for the Wildcats, said whether there will be one-game tickets available will depend on how many families or bubbles sign up, since there won't need to be distance between those people.
The Avenir Centre usually holds 8,800 people. With distancing, that's down to around 2,200.
"We're kind of in a little bit different reality than most seasons," she said. "With the season ticket holders, obviously we wanted to make sure that those people that have been with us for many years have the opportunity."
Home games begin in the first week of October.
No gathering, leaving seats
Huestis said at the Avenir Centre every aisle seat is blocked to ensure distancing from anyone on the stairs. Every second row is blocked off as well, and there will be three empty seats in each direction around each individual or unit
At all games, people will have to wear a mask until they're seated.
People will not be allowed to gather before, after or during the games. Attendees will be required to stay in their seat, other than to go to the washroom or concession stands.
The three teams will also not be travelling outside the Atlantic bubble to Quebec for games.
Huestis said a season ticket for an adult will cost around $700. The price has increased by $75 this year.
Saint John Sea Dogs team president and general manager Trevor Georgie said season tickets there will cost around $570.
He said because of limited seating, not everyone who had a season ticket last year will be able to get another one this time around. He said some corporate partners have relinquished their season tickets to make room for fans, and those will be sold using a lottery system.
"We're part of the community fabric and we want to make sure we want to give everyone a chance to see Sea Dogs hockey, but the only way to guarantee it is season tickets," he said.