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Hockey is back: Kelowna Rockets home opener sells out with a half-full arena

Rockets welcome back fans

The Kelowna Rockets welcomed their eager fans back into Prospera Place on Friday night.

The Rocket’s home opener against the Kamloops Blazers was the first opportunity for fans to take in a regular season game in nearly two years. COVID-19 restrictions limit arenas to half-capacity, so for the Rockets, 3,400 people were allowed through the doors.

For fans like Paul Richardson, taking in a live sporting event is something that can’t be replicated.

“This is like a homecoming, This is fantastic. I’m happy to get out with the fans and see something that you can’t do behind the screen of a television,” said Richardson.

Gayle Flintoft said the buzz of the crowd is something she's grateful to be around again.

“Oh, I just love the atmosphere, the energy, being around all the people again, it's just really great to be here,” explained Flintoft.

Rockets fan Aidan Van Dam was patiently waiting in line for some popcorn and a beverage. While he mentioned he planned on enjoying some of the stadium's concession food, he too missed the atmosphere.

“It's great, since we haven't been able to do this for a long time. The atmosphere here is so awesome,” Van Dam described.

Rockets VP of business and development Gavin Hamilton was just as happy as the fans to have the Prospera Place buzzing again.

“It's very exciting. It's been I think 600 some odd days since we were here with fans, and people are excited,” said Hamilton.

In the end, the Rockets skated to a 4-2 victory, but the real winner in Friday’s contest were the 3,400 fans, who had waited long for a return of live hockey in Kelowna. The Rockets’ next home game is Oct. 30 against Victoria.



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