Sunday night was truly a night in history. The last time I was at a hockey game was March 8, 2020 in Lehigh Valley watching the Phantoms. So, as it came up on my Timehop this morning, it made me reminisce of Sunday nights event. One year ago, I was a hockey not wearing a mask, being able to be down at the glass with my little cousin during warm-ups seeing the players up close and personal. Mark Friedman (RIP to my boy) gave my cousin a puck and everyone around us started cheering and high fiving him. Fast forward to almost exactly a year later, face masks are enforced, health checks before you even entered the building, 6 feet apart labels were marked on the ground, having specific markers on your seats to “sit here” and to being basically the only people in the section until you got to row 5 or 6. It was a change.
I know I was so excited to be one of those lucky few that were able to be inside the Wells Fargo center for basically the home opener with fans. Emotions were running high for sure. Wells Fargo and the Flyers did a great job with safety protocols and enforcing the rules. It was weird to see fans so spread out but if that is what it takes to have some sort of normalcy I will gladly take it.
For almost a year there’s been something missing in my life. Well Sunday night I found that something again. Not many people understand or can relate to the love that I have for the Philadelphia Flyers and to finally be able to see the boys in person again was an incredible feeling. The last game I attended in person was February 28th against the New York Rangers where the Flyers won 5-2. At that time I thought I’d be back at the Wells in a week maybe two, I never thought I wouldn’t get back to a game until over a year later.
When we pulled up and I saw the line for the health check my first thought was “oh man this is gonna take a while.” I couldn’t have been more wrong it took maybe 15-20 minutes to get into the building. We were asked COVID related questions before entering and then headed inside. It felt pretty normal with all the other fans around and there wasn’t much difference from a pre-COVID game other than the health check questions and obviously the social distance. There were hand sanitizer stations all around the arena and everyone was wearing their mask properly.
As Kelsey said it was a little weird being the only people in a row and not having anyone really close to us at all. For me I kind of liked it because I’m not really a huge people person. At the same time though it wasn’t the same not having some random Flyers fan next to me to high five after they scored. Overall, I felt really safe and the staff did a great job of making sure everyone followed the protocols. We even saw someone get tossed for not wearing their mask. The result wasn’t what we wanted with the Flyers losing but it felt pretty damn great being able to complain from inside the stadium instead of my couch. I’ll for sure be trying to get to a few more games this season and can’t wait until I’m back at the Wells with a sold out crowd.
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-Walsh and Kelsey
All pictures from Kelsey