Utica College Fans Frozen Out Of Adirondack Bank Center For Men’s, Women’s Hockey
The United Collegiate Hockey Conference Tournament brackets are out and both Utica College men's and women's hockey are set to host games this week. Unfortunately, no fans will be allowed into the Adirondack Bank Center for those games.
Not event parents.
That's per a Governor Cuomo executive order from July 2020 prohibiting spectators at intercollegiate sporting events because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the state has since loosened restrictions on smaller sporting venues, allowing 10% capacity at places like the Adirondack Bank Center effective April 1, the Governor's order pertaining to intercollegiate sporting events is still in place, according to Utica College Athletic Director Dave Fontaine.
So while the Utica Comets are preparing to welcome back a few hundred fans for home hockey games at the ADK Bank Center in April, UC cannot.
WIBX has learned local officials are reaching out to the state for clarification, and permission to host some capacity or fans, or parents, considering those NYS guidelines allow for pro-sporting events in the same exact venue.
However, the state made an exception to it's own rule earlier this month - when the Big East Conference Tournament played at Mardison Square Garden, according to the NY Post. :
The league announced that for next week’s conference tournament at the Garden, each team will be given an undisclosed number of tickets that can be distributed to friends and family of their traveling parties — which includes those close to players, coaches, managers and staff members. Tickets will not be sold to the public.
The Pioneer men are the No. 1 seed after posting a 7-1 record this season. All eight contests were in-conference, with that lone defeat coming in the regular season opener on the road at Wilkes. The Pioneers begin the tournament by hosting eighth-seeded Manhattanville on Wednesday night. The Valiants have played just three games this season and are 0-3. The two teams were scheduled to meet on February 28, but that was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
If Utica can take care of business, they'd be hosting the semifinal game on Friday (April 3), and potentially the finals next Monday (April 5), but again existing restrictions mean they'll be playing in an empty building.
The UC women have the fourth-seed and will host a tournament game this week, Thursday night (April 1) at 7:00PM. The Pioneers went 6-6 this season, and 4-4 in UCHC play. They'll play No. 5 Nazareth.
Winning the UCHC Tournament usually means at ticket to the national championships, however, because of the pandemic, the Division III NCAA Ice Hockey Championships are canceled.
READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest