SBD/Issue 73/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NHL Games Go On Despite Blizzard Conditions In The Northeast

Majority Of 5,329 Fans Who Attended Leafs-
Devils Game Arrived Via Public Transportation

Two NHL games “were played in the middle" of Sunday's blizzard in the N.Y. area, despite public officials "begging people to stay home and off the roads," according to Lynn Zinser of the N.Y. TIMES. The Devils hosted the Maple Leafs in Newark and the Canadiens played the Islanders on Long Island. The NHL issued a statement that read in part, “When a local government requests a cancellation, we cancel.” But Nassau County Chief Deputy County Exec Rob Walker on Sunday said that “a postponement had been advised” for the Islanders' game. No explanation “has been given as to why that advice was not followed in the case of the Islanders game Sunday night.” The Canadiens-Islanders game drew an announced crowd of 3,136 at Nassau Coliseum. In Newark, Devils Arena Entertainment President Bob Sommer said that the team “conferred with the state police and transit officials and were told they could proceed with their Sunday night game.” He added that the “majority of the 5,329 fans who attended the game arrived by public transportation.” Sommer: “Fortunately or unfortunately, we’re loaded with dates, so to find another open date would be very, very difficult. This was a scheduling issue, so we played.” The Islanders-Rangers game last night also “went on as scheduled, although there were large swaths of empty seats when the game began.” MSG officials said that “there was no thought given to canceling Monday night’s game because the snow had stopped falling and transportation in New York City was returning to normal” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/28). In N.Y., Mark Everson reports the Devils are “offering free tickets for one of three upcoming games to those with used or unused tickets” from Sunday’s Maple Leafs-Devils game “because of the snowstorm and ensuing transportation difficulties.” The free tickets are for either the Jan. 4 game against the Wild, the Jan. 9 game against the Lightning or the Jan. 23 game against the Panthers (N.Y. POST, 12/28).

STUCK ON THE ISLAND: On Long Island, Katie Strang cited sources as saying that the Islanders’ “request for postponement ultimately was overruled” by the NHL. The league “declined comment.” It is believed that the “ruling was based upon the fact that both teams arrived safely and were available to play and because no state of emergency was declared for Nassau County.” The Islanders on their website “announced a plan to reimburse fans who were unable to attend the game.” The team also “modified the ticket policy to allow those who actually attended the game to exchange their ticket ‘to any future Islanders home game starting with this Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins through the remainder of the 2011 season, based on availability’” (NEWSDAY.com, 12/26). 

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