LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On March 3, 2020, the Vegas Golden Knights shut out the New Jersey Devils 3-0.
Then COVID-19 hit and the NHL pressed pause on the season. For the first time, fans found themselves shut out.
"The next thing you know, you're like, 'Wow. Hockey is here. We're not in the stadium. What are we right now?" said Jason Griego, a VGK season ticket holder and passionate fan.
Griego said there's just no way of recreating the unparalleled energy of the Fortress at home.
"You try but there's nobody there to high five," Griego said, with a laugh. "It's not the same experience."
But Gov. Sisolak's updated Roadmap to Recovery is paving the way for fans to return.
Under the plan, both the Golden Knights and the Henderson Silver Knights will be able to submit plans for large gatherings this Monday. If approved by local and state health authorities, fans could return as early as March 1.
So how many fans will be allowed? Venues will be capped at 20% capacity.
T-Mobile Arena's hockey capacity is 17,500 so the number for Golden Knights fans will likely be 3,500. The Orleans Arena can seat about 7,700 for hockey which would allow for about 1,500 Silver Knights fans to attend.
Sports radio host TC Martin said it's hugely important to get fans back in seats -- especially for the NHL, which gets about 50% of its revenue from fans.
"Right now you're talking about a billion dollars loss," said Martin.
"When you take away the live gate, the ticket revenue, the parking, the concessions, it's been a huge hit for a long, long time," he explained. "I know it's a welcome sight to get fans back in the stands."
It's welcome news for just about everyone involved -- the league, the organization, the players and of course, the fans themselves, who welcome the challenge of creating Fortress-level energy at 20% full.
"Challenge accepted," said Griego. "Right? 100%. Give us a shot, give us the go, let's see what we got in our fan base."
The next big question is how will the Golden Knights and Silver Knights decide who gets to attend games.
Likely, it'll be mostly season ticket holders but we don't know what that breakdown will look like just yet.