Kelowna Rockets owner Bruce Hamilton and the rest of the organization are working on plans to bring fully vaccinated fans back to Prospera Place for the start of the upcoming WHL season.
The provincial government announced new health measures on Aug. 23, mandating that all patrons attending certain events must show proof of vaccination to attend, a plan which Hamilton is in full support of.
He believes that the 6,886 capacity stadium needs to be full of fans donning the Rockets red and teal to run his business, and said the response from the Kelowna faithful has already been immense heading into the upcoming season.
“We’ve had a tremendous response from season ticket holders looking to come back this season,” he said. “We want to get people back to enjoying something other than what they’ve had over the last little while.”
Rockets fans haven’t been able to attend a game at Prospera Place since March 11, 2020.
Hamilton pointed to other hockey teams in B.C., such as the Canucks, stating everyone is dealing with the same issue when it comes to vaccine passports.
“It’s a concern of theirs, and it’s a concern of ours.”
During the 2020-2021 COVID-shortened season, B.C. WHL teams played in two hub cities, Kelowna and Kamloops. While COVID-19 did inhibit the Rockets last season with one positive case, Hamilton believes now that all the players and staff are fully vaccinated, ensuring safety at games will be even easier.
“Once we started, we only had one case, and that was a problem from an outside person. We’re confident that we will be able to play at our stadium at capacity.”
The Rockets season is set to kick off on Oct. 2 when they play host to the Everett Silvertips, which, according to Hamilton, gives the team plenty of time to work out the details behind filling Prospera Place for opening night.
“We’re doing everything we can to abide by the government regulations.”