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Fans back in the stands for the first time in IceHogs 2021 season

For 420 days the only way seats were filled with cardboard cutouts, Saturday night, hockey fanatics returned
Published: May. 1, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The BMO Harris Bank Center in downtown Rockford is buzzing once again as fans are back in the strands. Entertainment leaders and those at Saturday’s game share what it’s like being back in the building.

“We are so excited to be back here,” said Kerry Werstein.

For 420 days the only way seats were filled was the cardboard cutouts, Saturday night hockey fanatics returned.

“It’s just a great atmosphere being back after so long,” said Britton Adams.

For more than a year the seats inside BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford have been empty. But now the stands are filled with hundreds of season ticket holders. The crowd might be small, but the emotion makes it feel like the stadium is packed.

We’ve missed the action,” said Adams.

“Just the sounds of the game,” Werstein said. “And just the excitement when they are fighting hard for us.”

IceHogs Director of Business Operations Mike Peck said things look a little different.

“We’re seating fans in only the upper level, and we had to space them out,” said Peck. “So we have pods of four seats, and then there’s a minimum of four seats where fans can sit.”

Adams is an IceHogs fan and also a season ticket holder. He said supporters started lining up nearly 2 hours before the game in anticipation for the puck to drop.

“We see it on TV whenever we can but there’s nothing that beats live action hockey,” said Adams.

“You know what kind of adrenaline rush that you receive by having fans in the stands,” said Peck.

Peck said the experience is special for both fans and the players.

“It’s going to be a nice rush for the players just to have fans when they skate out for the game tonight,” said Peck.

Concessions still remain closed, but Peck said fans were allowed to bring in their own food and alcohol.

The goal is to welcome all fans from the Rockford area in to watch the IceHogs come November.

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