CALGARY — The Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds announced they will play upcoming regular-season home games without fans after Washington State banned large group events in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Silvertips said their March 20 game against the visiting Victoria Royals will be closed to the general public. Everett's four other remaining games are on the road.
The team said tickets for the game will be honoured at a future home game of the purchaser's choice.
The Thunderbids announced home games against Vancouver on March 14 and versus Spokane on March 17 will be played without fans. The team says the status of its final home game on March 21 against Portland will be determined in the coming days.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Wednesday a ban of gatherings and events of more than 250 people in three Western Washington counties, including the greater Seattle area. The Silvertips are based just north of Seattle.
Earlier, the WHL said in a statement it will "comply with the public gathering requirements" regarding the remaining home games of the Silvertips and the Seattle Thunderbirds, who play south of the city in Kent, Wash.
"We take the safety of our players, officials, staff, fans, and everyone associated with the WHL very seriously, and will take every step necessary to assist in containing this virus," WHL commissioner Ron Robison said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2020.