Coyotes plan to open season with limited fans in attendance

Dec 21, 2020, 4:55 PM

Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Wi...

Fans line up outside of Gila River Arena before the NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets on October 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Coyotes president and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez announced Monday that the team is planning to open the season with limited fans in attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been top of mind for us to be focused on health and safety and protocols,” he said.

“Our number one priority is to make sure that all of our team members — whether it’s the players, the coaches, the medical staff, the training staff, as well as all of the employees here on the business operations side, are safe and are healthy.”

The Coyotes’ home opener is on Jan. 14 against the San Jose Sharks.

The Arizona Cardinals stopped having fans in early December after initially allowing up to 4,200 in attendance for two November games, and smaller numbers the week prior. The Phoenix Suns said they will begin the season without fans.

Gutierrez said the organization hopes to announce some innovative and tech-enabled tools they will use to keep everyone safe.

Arizona recently had record-high coronavirus numbers on Thursday, including COVID-19 inpatients (3,884), overall inpatient capacity (93%), overall ICU capacity (92%) and fewest open ICU beds (140).

The number of cases per day has spiked, with post-Thanksgiving tests done on Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 reaching over 7,000 per day, according to the Arizona Department of Health and Services. Those numbers hit over 7,000 cases on Dec. 7, 8 and 9 as well, including a new record of 8,139 positives from tests done on Dec. 14.

The previous high before November was 5,452 on June 29, and the daily number had held below 2,000 from July 22 to Nov. 2. A second wave of the virus has hit the state hard since, like the majority of the country.

Gutierrez said that bringing the fans in is subject to ongoing review and flexibility

“We’re certainly aware of the times that we’re living in,” he said.


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Coyotes

Lawson Crouse of Canada, Milan Lucic of Canada and Peyton Krebs of Canada Team Canada celebrates af...

Associated Press

Lawson Crouse scores, Andre Tourigny-coached Canada defeats Germany to win hockey worlds

Arizona Coyotes' Lawson Crouse scored for Canada in a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

6 days ago

Mesa Mayor John Giles, Tempe mayor Corey Woods...

Arizona Sports

Mesa mayor ‘encouraging’ Coyotes to look at private sites for new arena

Could the Arizona Coyotes find a new arena home in Mesa and find a way to avoid a public vote like the squashed Tempe plans required?

12 days ago

Logan Cooley #92 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers warms up before a game against the Quinnipiac Bobc...

Wills Rice

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley to stay 1 more year in college

Arizona Coyotes highly regarded center prospect Logan Cooley announced he is staying in college for one more year.

14 days ago

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes reportedly inquire about Mesa’s Fiesta Mall site in arena land search

Mesa's old Fiesta Mall footprint is among the land the Arizona Coyotes have inquired about, CBS5's and 3TV's Dennis Welch reported Thursday.

16 days ago

Mullett Arena, Arizona Coyotes, tempe...

Arizona Sports

Coyotes to play at Mullett Arena in 2023-24, seeking new Valley site

The Arizona Coyotes expect to play at Mullett Arena as planned in the 2023-24 season amid uncertainty about their future, the team confirmed.

17 days ago

Arizona Coyotes Tempe arena...

Jake Anderson

Hockey world reacts to Tempe voters’ rejection of Coyotes’ arena plan

One of the Arizona Coyotes' captains and a face of the franchise Clayton Keller made his reaction felt with one simple emoji.

17 days ago

Coyotes plan to open season with limited fans in attendance