Saturday night was one that many in the Huntsville area had marked on their calendars for several months as hockey returned to the VBC.
The Huntsville Havoc’s 3-2 season-opening win against the Knoxville Ice Bears was the team’s first game since March 7.
For the first time in 294 days, it was game day. A lot has changed since the Havoc’s overtime loss. Coronavirus transformed our world. Now, hockey fans have to wears masks to enter the arena and seats are harder to come by -- with attendance limited to only 37% capacity.
“You know, I’m just glad to be back, even though it’s a lot different,” Patrick Duryea said. “Of course we got the previsions with the masks, which is safe, and of course we have the plexiglass.”
“It looks to me like they’ve done everything they can to make it safe and we feel pretty safe here,” Linda Mcclure, a season-ticket holder, said.
Fans like Duryea and Mcclure, both of whom were at the March 7 game, said they had no idea that they wouldn’t get to experience hockey again until late December.
“We were very devastated when they said, ‘We’re done,’” Mcclure said.
It’s no secret that this season will be different than any other for so many reasons, but Mcclure said the real fans just want to be there.
“It’ll be strange that there aren’t as many people here, but we’re willing to do whatever it takes just to be able to have hockey,” she said.