The Fort Wayne Komets announced on Tuesday, January 5 that the team will return to play the weekend of February 12th for a fifty-game regular season. The start of training camp has yet to be determined with a regular season schedule to be released at a later date.
“After thirty years of ownership, we’ve made a decision to resume play based on the cooperation of the Coliseum, the direction of the ECHL and for the opportunity for the community to support the Komets in these awful times, said Komets CEO Stephen Franke.” “We hope the protocols established will make it a safe environment for the fans, players and the staff of the Komet Hockey team. We know this will be different than any other situation we’ve experienced in the three decades of ownership, so let me say, it’s time to play Komet Hockey!”
This will be the Komets 69th season and the ninth in the ECHL. The team has not played a regular season game since March 11, 2020 when the Komets defeated the Wichita Thunder 7-2 at the Coliseum.
“After months of trying to navigate a path to play, taking all aspects into consideration, public safety, player and hockey operations safety and the ability to create some semblance of normalcy in our community we made the decision to play,” said Komet President Michael Franke. “We are hoping that this announcement will be a positive for our great community, and look forward to seeing our fans back at the games in a safe environment to watch Komet hockey.”
With the Komets' return to play, there will be numerous changes to the experience for guests. Additionally, the Coliseum has made numerous investments and implemented new protocols to help ensure a safe environment for players, staff and guests.
Employees & Staff Protocols
1. Temperature checks for all personnel, including players, when reporting to the building
2. Health self-assessment when reporting for a work shift
3. Properly wearing masks to model desired behavior to guests
Guest Experience Changes
1. A new payment system in parking lot, allowing guests to pay with a credit or debit card without handing it to a staff member - although cash will still be accepted
2. New payment equipment at the ticket office will allow the purchaser to swipe their debit or credit card without handing it to the ticket seller
3. Tickets can be forwarded to the purchaser’s smartphone device via text message
4. Ticket scanning will be done by touchless electronic scanners at point of entry to the event
5. Instituting a clear bag policy, allowing security staff to monitor contents without touching personal belongings
6. More than 80 hand sanitizer stations located throughout concourses
7. Floor-marked queue lines at ticket office, restrooms and concession stands to encourage social distancing
8. Masks or facial coverings must be worn at all times except when actively eating or drinking at the guests’ seats
9. Reserved seats will be sold in a concept referred to as “pods” to encourage social distancing among different groups of guests
a. Seats will be sold in groups of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 seats together.
b. A pod should be purchased by a group of guests who are living in the same household
10. Total capacity will be limited to 25% of normal hockey capacity or 2,619 people
1. Reduced concessions menu options to increase speed of service and reduce wait times
2. Implementing “grab & go” concessions concepts to increase speed of service and reduce wait times
3. Fans will not be permitted to eat or drink outside of their ticketed seat
4. Tables in food courts will be removed and reduced seating will be available in the Rooftop Lounge
1. Installation of UV lighting in the escalator systems to disinfect handrail surfaces
2. Installation of ionic air filters in elevators to naturally clean the air
3. Increased the rate of outside fresh air being brought in through HVAC systems
1. Use of electrostatic sprayers to sanitize and disinfect surfaces, such as seats, handrails, door handles and trash receptacles
2. Dramatically increase the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces