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What’s it like to attend a NHL game during a pandemic?

The last time I attended a Blues game was in November 2019.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

So I did a thing. I went to a St. Louis Blues game during the pandemic.

I attended the Blues versus Colorado Avalanche game on Saturday. The Blues won by a final of 5-3. Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly recorded a hat trick with three goals and forwards Ivan Barbashev and Mike Hoffman added the other two goals. The Avalanche’s three goals came from Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Gabriel Landeskog.

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 28 saves for the victory. Avalanche goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves in a losing effort.

The last Blues game I attended was on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, which they lost to the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around how the Coyotes managed to snap the Blues’ seven-game winning streak. The Coyotes reportedly didn’t check into their hotel until 3:30 am due to issues with unloading their plane when they arrived from Washington, D.C. I could write more about their plane saga as aviation is my second passion, but I’m not going to do that right now. You could ask me on Twitter @AnaKieu though.

If you haven’t attended a game during the pandemic, you’re not alone.

I just wanted to point out that tickets are mobile-only, face masks must be worn except when eating and drinking, bags aren’t allowed, and fans aren’t allowed to exit and re-enter the Enterprise Center. Because of the new safety requirements, don’t forget to download the NHL app and transfer your Blues tickets to the app, wear a non-medical mask, bring your debit or credit card and identification card (if you’re under 30 like myself), and light up before you go inside.

I cannot stress the importance of bringing an ID card with you. I’m 27 years old and I’ve been working in journalism for the past five years. Yet, I still get carded by hospitality employees and security guards when I go to events, including remote, roundtable-style podcasts in restaurants, because I look younger to most people.

When I covered San Jose State Spartans football and men’s basketball, people would always ask me “What year are you in?” and “When are you graduating?” I always said something along the lines of “I graduated in 2015, but thank you.” My former boss would always joke about how I need a chaperone when I go to games at my alma mater.

Keep in mind that the Blues don’t allow fans to check in until an hour before the game starts. The Blues didn’t let me in until 1 pm before a 2 pm start time. So, you can’t assume that you’re going to watch

The Blues’ game day experience has been the same for the most part. The fans are loud, the traditions are being practiced, the music shifts from genre to genre, and the man with the brown sweater is in attendance — just to name a few things.

One thing I loved was that all the seats were blocked off except for the pods of two or more people. I didn’t have to worry too much about blocking someone’s vision or getting up to let someone pass through my row. So, that was the cherry on top.