I had the fortune of going to tonight s preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders. I did not know what to expect, but I was hoping for a good performance and no injuries. What I got was darkness. Partially, at least.
As I headed into the arena, all was fine until I got closer to Section 1. It was dark. The ambient lighting was enough to get around, but the normal lighting was off. It was off over those sections and pretty much the entire lower bowl in that end of the arena. The humongous scoreboard was off. Most importantly, about half of the rink lights were off. While one could see the rink, it could cause issues for those playing the game. That was enough to delay the game in the hopes of repairing it.
As such, the game that was scheduled for 7 PM and normally would start at 7:08 PM did not happen at that time. Around 7:15 PM, the Public Address announcer stated that the game would be delayed due to an outage and staff were working on the issue. Music continued to play in the arena. Fans milled about. At one point, a number turned on the flashlights on their smartphones and waved them about. At another point, a wave started. The delay continued until about 7:50 PM. Then, the announcement came: the game would be cancelled and would not be re scheduled.
This was received negatively by those in attendance and understandably so. It may have been an exhibition game, but it was a game nonetheless. A time out to see Our Favorite Team play the Isles (except for the Isles fans who were to support the visitors). The announcement and subsequent statement sent out by the team (the e mail matched the wording on the site) stated that those in attendance would be eligible for a 2021 22 regular season game for the same number of tickets they had tonight. Details would come out on how that will be done later. That is a fair level of compensation. With no game played tonight, you get tickets to another game that will be played. A game with some value, too. Hopefully all who get this option will be able to pick a game they can attend instead of being forced to pick between some non ideal match ups they may not be able to attend.
The odd thing about it was that this was really a partial power outage. The lounge sections had power. The upper bowl had power throughout. The other half of the rink had full power. The sound system was clearly working. This was not a situation like what happened on January 9, 2010 when the power in the whole arena went out during a game between the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning. ( Fun fact: I attended that game too.) Still, the main issue is safety. Even having half of the rink lights out could lead to issues for the players on the ice. We would not want to see injuries normally, especially in preseason games. We especially would not like a Devil getting hurt because they did not see something as clearly as they would have under normal lighting conditions. Between that, it being a preseason game, and the seemingly unknown lead time to fix the issue (no progress was seemingly made from what I saw), I can understand the decision to cancel the game. I am a little disappointed by it, but it is what it is.