After 584 days, fans young and old were glad to finally be back inside UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
"I’ve been coming here since the 70s," said fan Jeffrey Jene.
"After a year-and-a-half, we are so glad to be back," fan Dana Schultz, whose last Admirals game was Feb. 22, 2020, said. "Just watching it on television, as my husband says, is not the same."
The Admirals' 2019-20 season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2020-21, the team opted out of playing due to pandemic-related complications.
The Milwaukee Admirals begin the 2021-22 AHL season at home.
Now, just like the fans, the players cannot wait to lace up their skates and hit the ice.
"They’re excited to get back, they want to put on a good show tonight, too," said Jon Greenberg, Admirals president.
Masks were optional for fans, and there were extra hand sanitizer stations throughout the arena.
"The building has a lot of cleaning protocols all put into place. We feel very comfortable with where we're at," Greenberg said.
And the fans were more than comfortable to be back in the stands.
"Let’s get a win, start it off strong – go Admirals," said Jene.
The Admirals organization said the entire team – players and the coaching staff – is fully vaccinated, so they hope to play every game this season. The next game for the team is Oct. 22 against the Chicago Wolves.
The season started strong. The Admirals beat the Griffins 7-3.