North Bay Memorial Gardens will be transitioned back as an ice arena for the first time since December of 2020 and that's exciting news for the North Bay Battalion.
Due to COVID-19, the re-opening of Memorial Gardens to hockey is not ideal, but Team President Mike Griffin believes it is a good start.
"The direction we have been given is that we will be open to the public on Tuesday, August 31 and on-ice sessions will be open to the public," Griffin told BayToday.
"We will have access through Gate 2, we will have people to require masks. With social distancing, the capacity will be 1,000 and we will have that throughout training camp. At this point and time, we are preparing to have exhibition games in the middle of September and the home capacity will be 1000."
One of the biggest challenges Griffin's staff have to deal with is the season ticket issue.
"We have been hesitant with regards to our season ticket allocation because the number of people wanting seats is in excess of the capacity at the moment of 1000, so that creates a whole thorny issue so we are hoping there will be a few changes in the next few weeks and if the government declares a higher capacity then that will accommodate our season ticket holders," he said.
Griffin notes that they have not officially been given the green light to operate their concessions at Memorial Gardens.
"We need to have a conversation with the local health unit so they give us the real definitive guidelines with regards to concessions," noted Griffin.
"Obviously, we would like for them to be open - at least some form of revenue can come in. We have not had a penny come through the door since March of 2020. It would be nice to get the food and beverage and of course, that is part of the fan experience being in the building."
It is going to be different for people but Griffin is trying to stay optimistic.
"I understand that according to the Province's Chief Medical Officer we could have ease of restrictions in the next few weeks and a bit then that will help us going into training camp," said Griffin.
See related: Chirico says vaccine passports not his call
While the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit has a reputation of being very restrictive toward sporting events during the Pandemic, The region's Chief Medical Officer has not spoken out about vaccine passports for fans at Memorial Gardens. In fact, he's stated it's not his call.