Columbus Blue Jackets to host first home game without fans in Nationwide Arena


COLUMBUS, OH – MARCH 12: A Columbus Blue Jackets fan reads a sign on the door stating that all events have been postponed until further notice the Nationwide Arena on March 12, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. The game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins was canceled after the NHL’s decision to suspend the remaining games in the season due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Blue Jackets confirmed fans will not be in attendance at Nationwide Arena with they host their home opener Thursday night.

The Jackets return to their home ice Jan. 21 against the defending Stanley Cup winners, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Tuesday, the team stated in a news release: “While the season will begin without fans in attendance at Nationwide Arena, there are a number of promotions planned to allow fans at home to celebrate team accomplishments during both home and road games throughout the year.”

Last week, representatives with the team told NBC4 Sports Director Jerod Smalley that they are working to put a plan together to get fans back at Nationwide Arena for future games.  

“Our efforts in this regard will place the highest priority on the health and safety of our fans, players, coaches, staff and guests,” a spokesperson with the team stated last Wednesday.

Other professional sports teams in the state have been working with the Ohio Department of Health to allow a limited number of fans inside arenas. The Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA had 1,944 fans, or 10% of arena capacity, at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse last week.

The Jackets are 1-2-0 after recording their first win against the Detroit Red Wings Monday. They play them again Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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