The University of New Hampshire will allow up to 500 students to attend its home men’s hockey game against No. 18 Northeastern University on Friday at 7 p.m.
Friday’s game will mark the state’s first indoor sports event played with fans other than just the athletes’ relatives since last March. It will also mark the first Hockey East game with spectators and first UNH athletic event with fans since last March.
UNH Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Communications Mike Murphy said this is a one-game pilot event.
“It’s a pilot because there’s no promises there will be any more,” Murphy said. “If it’s successful, I like to hope that we could extend this to future games and other sports.”
Among the game protocols, Murphy said, fans will not be allowed to sit in groups, must sit 6 feet apart in marked seats and arrive at the Whittemore Center at their designated time. Masks must be worn at all times and concession stands will not be open.
The UNH pep band will perform during the game but no wind instruments will be allowed to be played.
Tickets will be claimed entirely online, with designated days and windows for certain student classes and groups to obtain their ticket. Students cannot give their ticket to another student. Through this process, the university will have a log of all students in the building for contact tracing purposes, if needed.
All students attending the game must have a valid Wildcat pass, which shows that they have tested negative for COVID-19.
Friday’s game, which is health care worker appreciation night, will mark the debut of 200 cardboard cutouts featuring UNH and other local health care workers, which the university offered free of charge.
“Our men’s hockey program misses you guys,” UNH Director of Athletics Marty Scarano said in a video message sent to students. “If we do everything the way I’m confident we will do it, there will be other opportunities this spring for you to attend our athletic events.”
UNH (5-10-2) will host Northeastern on Friday, then visit the Huskies (6-5-2) on Saturday night (6 p.m.) in Boston.
Friday’s game is free online at collegesportslive.com; Saturday’s contest is on NESNplus.