NHL expects full capacity in all cities except Vancouver and Montreal

Montreal Canadiens fans cheer on their team prior to NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Montreal, Saturday, May 29, 2021. (Graham Hughes/CP)

The NHL expects to have all but two arenas operating at full capacity this season.

The exceptions are Vancouver's Rogers Arena (50 per cent capacity) and Montreal's Bell Centre (33 per cent).

The NHL's memo says there will be different rules on proof of vaccination, COVID-19 tests and mask usage across the league.

As of Thursday, COVID-19 rules in Ontario call for a maximum of 1,000 people in indoor venues. However, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have said they are anticipating full capacity.

When asked about a possible change in capacity for sporting venues, an Ontario government spokesperson said, "(Chief Medical Officer of Health) Dr. (Kieran) Moore will provide an update on his recommended changes to capacity limits in specific settings where proof of vaccination is required once they are finalized and approved by Cabinet."

The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, under Alberta rules, can have full capacity, even though the province is under a state of public health emergency because of a COVID-19 surge.

COVID-19 capacity rules are under provincial and state jurisdiction.

None of the seven Canadian arenas had any fans during the regular season last year. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets had hundreds of healthcare workers for some playoff games, while the Montreal Canadiens were allowed 3,500 fans by the end of the playoffs.

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