By Shane Nicholson
The Rockford IceHogs have joined a growing list of sports teams further limiting what their fans can bring into the stadium.
Starting this season, people attending IceHogs games will no longer be allowed to carry in backpacks, purses, seat cushions, strollers, umbrellas, and any other number of items.
To provide a safer environment for fans and significantly expedite fan entry into the BMO Harris Bank Center, this policy will limit the size and types of bags that may be brought into the arena.
Fans are allowed to bring the following into the arena:
• Bags that are clear, plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12.”
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar)
• Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap no larger than 4.5” x 6.5” are allowed into the arena with one of the clear plastic bags
• Diaper bags will be permitted for families with infants and toddlers
• An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the entrances
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, camera bags, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, computer bags and any bag larger than the permissible size.
Fans should continue to plan on arriving early to games to ensure they are in their seats in time for the opening faceoff. Regular security procedures, including wanding at entrances, will remain the same as last season.
As one might expect, the response on social media has not been great.
“Unbelievable- can’t bring a purse in??” said one fan on the team’s Facebook page. “Ridiculous- no one needs to see what medications I’m on and what kind of wallet I have- screw this! U will lose fans Icehogs! I can bring a purse into NHL games – wth?”
“This rules out my clients coming to the games,” said another, “and they have had long relationships with the ice hogs and now when I want to go I can’t bring a purse…. but I’ll leave it in the car to get stolen (that makes sense)”.
And one fan on the team’s website lamented, “I wish they would have announced this before we renewed our season tickets”.
One season ticket holder we talked to said he hopes the team plans to expand security outside the BMO Center.
“I’ve got to tell my wife, ‘Hey, leave your purse in your car in this parking garage for two hours’ when anyone in town knows that there’s going to be all these women doing the same. They better be adding guards outside or else this isn’t going to go over well.”
A call for comment from the IceHogs has not been returned.