This week, the Portland Winterhawks sent out another email to further describe the intent of what all they are doing right now as the country and the state try to climb out of the pandemic. The letter was as follows:
In our last letter we provided an update on the search for new Winterhawks ownership, introduced the Western Hockey League Return-to-Play Protocols, and laid out an initial timeline for season ticket renewals. If you have not seen this email, please check your inbox for a “ Letter from the Winterhawks President” that was sent around 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Today, we will dive further into your options as a Season Ticket Holder, provide updates on some changes at the Rose Quarter, expand on the WHL plans and contingencies. A third email will accompany your ticket account renewal statement in the coming weeks.
Season Ticket Holder Information & Options for 2020-21
No Price Increases: All 2020-21 Winterhawks tickets prices will remain unchanged from the 2019-2020 season.
2020-21 Medical and/or Financial Ticket Relief Options: Options are available for Season Ticket Holders who are not able to attend all home games due to job loss, other financial impact, or are uncomfortable attending large gatherings for personal health and safety reasons.
- Web Form Notification: A Relief Options web form will be linked in your upcoming renewal statement. Use the web form to notify us of your intent to make temporary changes to your account. Please do not respond directly to this email.
- Attend Fewer Games: A series of multi-game packages will be available to help you get the most hockey for your dollar.
- Trim Seats from Your Account: If members of your party are not able to attend games, we can temporarily remove their seat(s). Those seats will be added back to your account for the following season.
- Combination of Changes: Our staff will help you through just about any combination of trimming seats and/or choosing smaller packages.
- Skip the 2020-21 Season: As a last resort, you may choose to skip the 2020-21 season in its entirety. Your existing 2020 Playoff rollover will be credited towards your 2021-22 season tickets.
Ten-Month Payment Plan & Contingencies: All Premier Membership and other monthly payment plans will be based on a ten-month calendar from August of 2020 through May of 2021.
- Plans Begin in August: Your first payment will be collected next month. The exact amount of your monthly payment will be included in your upcoming renewal statement.
- Contingency for a Delayed Start to Season: Your August and September payments will be collected as normal. If the Friday, October 2nd start of the season appears to be delayed at any point, payments may pause starting with the month of October.
- Twelve-Month Payment Plans in 2021-22: Our standard twelve-month payment plan system will resume after this season in June of 2021.
Rose Quarter Update: Winterhawks at Home in the VMC
Due to the scheduling requirements of the NBA and the large number of rescheduled concerts, it will not be feasible to play Winterhawks games in the Moda Center this coming season.
Moda Seats Saved: Your Moda Center seats will be retained on your account for use in future seasons. They appear on your 2020-21 renewal statement for verification purposes only.
WHL Return to Play Protocols,
Government Regulations, and Contingencies
The Western Hockey League’s return-to-play protocols are being developed in partnership with team medical personnel, home arenas, local and regional health officials, and local governments. They are designed to build responsible, healthy, and safe spaces for players and fans in the current COVID-19 environment. It would be impossible to resume WHL hockey without these agreements.
Basics of Return-to-Play for Fans:
- Fan Attendance is a Must: The WHL will not start regular season play until such time that fans are able to attend games at a significant level.
- Reduced Building Capacities: We anticipate that maximum arena capacities will be reduced when play begins this fall.
- 22 Teams, One League: All 22 teams must be cleared to play in their home arenas before games can begin.
- Responsible Health Precautions are a Must: Teams, players, coaches, staff, and fans will follow a series of mandatory safety measures at all games.
- Full 68-Game Regular Season is a Priority: The 68-game WHL season is scheduled to begin on Friday, October 2, 2020.
Contingencies for Social Distancing: New social distancing arena seating maps and protocols may be mandated by the Rose Quarter, the WHL, and/or state and local governments. The safety and health of players, staff and fans is the number one goal of everyone involved in these decisions.
- Potential for Temporary Seat Moves: The Winterhawks ticket office may have to adjust seating for many fans due to social distancing mandates for large events. Any such changes will be temporary.
- When Mandates are Lifted: You will return to your normal seats as soon as the relevant social distancing mandates are lifted.
Masks Wearing Requirements: Plan for mask requirements for attendees and staff at Winterhawks games this season.
Social Distanced Hockey is Better than no Hockey!
We invite you to commit to doing your part to ensure the return of Winterhawks hockey this fall. Distancing requirements, seat moves, and mask policies will be mandated by the Return-to-Play agreements between teams, leagues, and local governments. While some changes may be frustrating, they are temporary. Let’s work together and build a supportive environment when the players and coaches take the ice in pursuit of another WHL Championship.
Until then, take care of yourself and those around you over the coming months. Follow government mandates and recommendations. Observe social distancing practices. Wear masks in public and around friends and family who are outside of your immediate household.
It seems that the ticket is going to be a tough one no matter what. As the country tries to re-open, there is bound to be a great deal of “turbulence,” and what may work one day may not work the next. The one venue will make it easier to schedule as Rose Quarter tries to push events into the Moda Center anyway. Last year the Hawks didn’t even have a split in games between the two venues; about a quarter of the games went to the Moda Center.
Seat placement is going to be a tough one. Thank goodness for computers in trying to line up the seats and to maintain distancing. There will also be issues figuring out entrances and exits, as well as a number of other issues that are certain to arise as the time gets closer.
With professional teams looking to start play soon, the lower teams will be looking to their situations for guidance. Unlike professional teams, the junior teams are ticket-driven and don’t have the heavy sponsorship dollars available.Tickets sold will have to be used to prop up the team a bit, but you know that if there are any hiccups with protocols or changes to how the events can be run where the pandemic takes a turn and the public goes back down in phases.
Overall, with the pandemic, the team sale is having to go slower, which can’t hurt if they are having to sift through up to fifteen proposals, but also, whoever buys the club has to deal with potential losses due to not being able to sell as many seats.
Get ready for what could be one of the wildest starts ever in the WHL!