The province of Ontario says it expects professional sports stadiums will be allowed to return to 100 per cent capacity in mid-March.
The announcement came as part of a three-step plan the province outlined Thursday as it slowly re-opens from a strict public health lockdown imposed earlier this month.
This means Ottawa's own Senators will be playing their first 11 home games to an empty Canadian Tire Centre (CTC), with three games set to be played in front of 50 per cent capacity.
Currently, indoor sports facilities are allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity or 500 spectators, whichever number is lower. That restriction will remain in place until February 21, when the province says it expects spectator capacity will be able to rise to 50 per cent. The province adds that it expects capacity limits to be completely lifted on March 14. All proof of vaccination requirements and other public health measures will remain in place for fans attending games.
The NHL announced a number of schedule changes Wednesday after nearly 100 games were postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks and stadium capacity restrictions across Canada. The Maple Leafs have five more home games scheduled to be played in an empty Scotiabank Arena and an additional five scheduled to be played in front of 50 per cent capacity.
On Wednesday, January 19, the Sens announced rescheduled dates for the 2021-2022 regular season. The first rescheduled game will be played on February 7 against the New Jersey Devils. The full list of rescheduled games can be viewed here.