Wheeling excited for first ‘normal’ event in a year


Fans WILL be in the stands come tip-off at the MEC Thursday

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — The long-awaited Mountain East Conference is back and the city of Wheeling can’t sit still under the idea of something getting back to normal!  

Tickets opened at noon Tuesday for seats at WesBanco.

Athletes have not had their fans in the stands, but for the first time this season moms and dads will get to watch their kid’s games at the MEC starting Thursday.

Only 750 people will be allowed at each game this year. That’s 15 percent capacity at WesBanco.

Other than the Nailer’s 15 games, we’ve not done anything here. We also operate the Capitol Theatre and it’s been dark since last March. So, we’re excited. I can tell you that.

Denis Magruder, Executive Director at WesBanco Arena

The great thing about the MEC is you’re bringing people from across the region/state into the city and they’re going to be spending money, staying in hotels, and get to see all we have here. 

Mayor Glenn Elliott, Wheeling

Committees had to be quick on their feet. Magruder says they had 10 days to modify the MEC’s game plan to pandemic code; complete with socially distanced group seating.

Everything from sneezeguards at every point of sale, they’re going to notice restroom doors are non-touch surfaces. They’ve been removed and walkways put in there.

You’ll notice all staff all wear masks. All fans coming to the games will have to wear masks the entire time unless actively eating or drinking.

Denis Magruder, Executive Director at WesBanco Arena

“It’s been about a year since we’ve had any sizable-live events like that here in the city,” said Elliott. “So, it’s a step back towards normal. We obviously still have to be cautious.”

West Liberty’s head coach said you don’t know what you have until it’s swiped from your grip. He’s now ready for the game they didn’t get to have last year. 

I didn’t have any seniors on my team last year. So, I didn’t have to tell one of them that this was their last college basketball game. The majority of those guys are back this year, so it’s kind of like: Okay, now we actually get to play.

Ben Howlett, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at WLU

Tip-off is 11 AM Thursday. Tickets opened today at noon but you can onlu get your tickets online this year. Head here.

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