Jets first NHL team to require all fans be vaccinated to attend games; will Rangers follow suit?

rangers covid policy
Apr 15, 2021; New York, New York, USA; A young fan celebrates the New York Rangers 4-0 shutout against the New Jersey Devils with a stick tossed to him from Pavel Buchnevich #89 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets will require all fans attending home games at Canada Life Centre this upcoming season to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This begs the question, will all other NHL teams follow suit for the upcoming season?

Jets require fans to be vaccinated to attend games

True North Sports and Entertainment, the owners and operators of the Jets and Canada Life Centre, said in a statement Wednesday that “the majority” of season ticket holders told the group this proof of vaccination is important going forward. True North plans to have the arena filled to capacity for games.

Per the Jets FAQ:

As of now, children will be permitted to attend games and/or events. Children between the ages of 12-17 will be required to be fully vaccinated and all children will be required to wear masks. Please refer back to this page for future updates.

The policy does not apply to players, which is handled by the NHL.

The Jets are believed to be the first NHL team to require attendees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Winnipeg plays its first home game against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 21.

Rangers and MSG COVID-19 attendance policy

Feb 10, 2021; New York, NY, USA; A general view of spectator seats prior to the game between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. New York State announced today that arenas can re-open to spectators and fans on February 23 at 10% occupancy. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Last season when MSG was finally able to open its door to fans in February, a negative COVID test within 72 hours with ID was required. All attendees also had to have their temperature taken and pass a health survey before entering. Later in the year, COVID testing was available on site.

Here’s the current policy found on MSG’s website:

  • New York State has updated its guidelines for venues with greater than a 5,000-seat capacity.  According to the current guidelines:
    • The Garden is able to host 100% capacity events without social distancing.
    • Guests are required to provide proof of either full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend an event at The Garden:
      • Full vaccination means the day of your event is at least 14 days after your final vaccine dose.
      • For unvaccinated guests – antigen COVID-19 tests must be taken within six hours of the event start time, or PCR COVID-19 tests must be taken within 72 hours of the day of the event.
    • Audiences can include a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, with no requirement for separate sections.
    • Face coverings are required for unvaccinated guests, except while actively eating or drinking.

With talks of a 4th wave expected in the fall, and potential vaccine mandates for state employees, the likelihood that the Rangers follow in the Jets footsteps seems high. Although that decision may have already been made for them by NYC. This should be expected across all sports.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report