While the Flyers lost in a disappointing 3-1 game against the Washington Capitals on Sunday night, a win in the fact that fans had finally returned was something that couldn’t be taken away. It was a win that was really a long time coming.
I was lucky enough to be selected from the priority presale group and was able to get tickets to the game. It felt great to be back in Wells Fargo Center to see the Flyers playing live and everything seemed somewhat normal. Lauren Hart sang the anthem, fans were screaming at the refs, Gritty was doing his classic shenanigans, it all felt like nothing had changed.
While it had been almost a full year since the fans were able to see the Flyers live, it seemed as if they had been there the entire year; they didn’t skip a beat. I had gotten there early to get ready for the game and as soon as I found my seat, people in my section wearing Capitals jerseys were being chirped by fans around them, nature was healing.
It never hit me that I was back until I saw Gritty, silently staring daggers into the camera as a rubber chicken let out a scream.
But what was the most exhilarating for me wasn’t the beauty of a goal by Joel Farabee, but the ovation for Oskar Lindblom. It truly was incredible, I didn’t think so few fans would be able to be that loud but we made sure Oskar knew of our support. There were countless Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys throughout the arena, including mine, and it was amazing to see how many people wanted to show that extra support for Oskar. I’m sure he will continue to get ovations by fans as they come back to Wells Fargo Center to watch this team battle.
While many things were great, and the way that Wells Fargo Center handle people coming back was smart, not all of it was perfect. Fake crowd noise was still being pumped in and it was hard to listen to in person, it sounded like white noise, lines for food were not distanced for the most part, and leaving the building was awful. The escalators were still packed and people were struggling to find enough room to think let alone social distance.
Overall, I would be lying if I said I won’t be going back this year. The atmosphere in Wells Fargo Center is electric and addictive and I can say without a doubt that I’ll be back soon. To be able to be part of the first group to come back will be something that I remember forever, and I can’t wait to hear from more people as they make their way back to their home away from home to watch their Flyers play.