WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — As vaccinations increase and COVID-19 cases decrease, we begin to see signs of normalcy returning.

Fans finally get to enter the arena and cheer on their favorite players out on the ice. Fans say it hasn’t been easy watching games from home.

“Absolute torture, but now that I’m standing right in front of the arena, it’s like waking up from a nightmare,” said Caleb Hudak of Hanover Township.

“I’ve been missing this, going back in the arena, seeing all the players in person,” said Lily Bechtold of Avoca.

Bechtold is a life-long Pens fan.

“We’ve been here since she was about that big, she’s been coming, so we’re excited to get back here and finally get to enjoy the games live and not seeing them on TV,” said Rick Bechtold, Lily’s Father.

But her love for the team is personal, dating back to a small act of kindness from the Penguins’ team captain after her mother passed away.

“Davis Worsofsky and his wife got her a jersey and had all of the players sign the back for her and everything. Just a little something from the players to her because of what happened,” said Bechtold.

Her dad said that’s why they come to support them every chance they get.

“It meant a lot, it’s pretty much part of a family atmosphere and that’s why we keep coming back,” said Bechtold.

To safely reopen, Mohegan Sun Arena underwent several renovations including new touchless bathroom fixtures and plexiglass partitions around concession areas. Everyone is also expected to wear a mask at all times and maintain social distancing.

And as you can see having fans in the arena really does make a difference. But is this a sign we’re returning to normal?

“I have my two shots so I’m ready to go. I know in a couple of weeks we’ll have more people come home, more fans. We’ll be good,” said Dolly Hudak, Caleb’s Grandmother.

Win or lose, these fans say they’re just glad to be home.

15% occupancy is allowed for now at Penguins home games. That’s 1,500 fans.

Tickets are still available for Wednesday’s game against Syracuse and next Friday’s game against the Hershey Bears.