The Fernie Memorial Arena. File photo. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

The Fernie Memorial Arena. File photo. (Joshua Fischlin/The Free Press)

‘Nice to start getting back to normal’: Fernie arena back to full spectator capacity

Interior Health announced the lifting of the regional COVID-19 order on Nov. 30

The Fernie Memorial Arena is once again allowed to operate at full spectator capacity.

Saturday’s (Dec. 4) game against the Columbia Valley Rockies was the first Ghostriders game of the season that wasn’t limited to a 50 per cent capacity of 500 spectators.

Interior Health announced the lifting of their regional COVID-19 Gatherings and Events Order on Nov. 30, effective midnight that night.

“It’s nice to start getting back to normal. Obviously it’s been a long time, and everybody’s looking for that normalcy again,” said Ghostriders head coach, Ty Valin.

He didn’t know off the top of his head what the attendance was at Saturday’s game, but he said it “definitely felt” like the crowd was over the 50 per cent capacity mark.

“It was nice to look and see for the most part the arena looking fairly packed.”

Jeri Mitchell, who says she’s been a volunteer with the Ghostriders for about 23 years, was at Saturday’s game.

She said the “crowd was great.”

“Always high energy (best fans in the league),” she wrote in a message to The Free Press.

Valin said the players “loved it”.

“It’s nice for them. They get that extra little boost,” he said, adding that it’s nice to be able to play in front of family and friends without having to worry about whether or not they will be able to get in due to limited spectator capacity.

Valin said of the Fernie fan base that “it’s a pretty unique market here for the league.”

“We get very good support from the community and the fan base here.”

The players and the staff “really appreciate” the support they get.

The Ghostriders will be facing off on Saturday (Dec. 11) against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on home ice.

The annual Teddy Bear Toss will be happening that night, Valin said.

“Once we score our first goal, people are allowed to bring teddy bears or toques, mitts, or any kind of winter item like that, and they’re allowed to throw it on the ice. And then we collect it all and donate it on behalf of the community.”

Tossed items are donated to the Salvation Army, he said.

READ MORE: Ghostriders get new goalie, among other roster shifts


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