We aren’t there yet but fans back in arenas offers some welcome normality

New York Rangers fans celebrate a second period goal by Chris Kreider #20. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New York Rangers fans celebrate a second period goal by Chris Kreider #20. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It was a special night for the New York Rangers fans in more ways than one on Friday.

Not only did they see their team beat the Boston Bruins 6-2 for a big, big win, but some were lucky enough to actually be inside Madison Square Garden to witness the spectacle, while there were fans on hand to witness the showdown between the Colorado Avalanche and the Arizona Coyotes.

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While some teams have had fans in attendance before Friday night, being a Rangers fan I paid close attention to events at MSG last night and it was a welcome sign that we’re heading in the right direction when it comes to getting back to normal in sports.

Of course, seeing people spread out, dozens of empty seats and people wearing masks while cheering on their favorite team wasn’t exactly normal, but it is the best we can hope for right now and there will be more fans going to more arenas over the coming days and weeks, which is a very good sign.

It will probably be a while until arenas are even close to full, especially hockey rinks given that they are indoors and we all know the virus thrives when in enclosed spaces, but the fact that we are beginning to see certain teams welcome fans back should be seen as a positive step in the right direction.

Some fans back in arenas and cheering on their teams offers welcome normality

Again, you can’t really call it quite back to normal given that only around 2,000 fans were allowed inside Madison Square Garden last night and they were all masked, while they had to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test and fill out a survey prior to being granted entry.

There is also still something rather unsettling about seeing people at an event wearing masks, but, hey, this is the world we live in right now and it is going to look that way for the foreseeable future and, as long as it keeps everyone safe and healthy, then that’s all that matters.

New York Rangers
Fans return to the arena for the game between the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

But the bottom line is that it is great fans are starting to be allowed back in to cheer on their favorite teams, giving us all the kind of normalcy we crave and desire right now. We all know sports is a great healer for a lot of things and a welcome distraction amidst the madness going on in the world right now, and it must have been great for those fans in New York last night to get a little slice of what life was like before the Pandemic hit, along with other arenas across all major sports that have allowed fans back in.

It does also make a difference as we saw with the New York Rangers last night, who beat the Boston Bruins 6-2 and outhit their opponent 17-8 in the first period, while you could certainly hear the small crowd throughout the game and it honestly felt great to witness that, even though I was still watching on a screen.

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Having witnessed some fans back inside Madison Square Garden last night, however, I think a lot of us probably feel as though a full return to some level of normalcy isn’t worlds away now as it once seemed, and I can’t wait for the day where we see arenas like Madison Square Garden packed and more fans can cheer on their favorite team while watching their favorite sport in person. I think we all want that day sooner rather than later.