Everyone knows that opening night tickets in Winnipeg are a hot commodity. That’s the same kind of understatement as saying “Shea Weber had a pretty good beard last season.” Even though face-value tickets max out at $192 per game, tickets on the secondhand market for opening night are going for more than $4,000. As the season approaches and tickets are increasingly out of control, the Jets organization is doing something about it.
According to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail in Toronto:
“Winnipeg Jets say a number of season ticket accounts have been cancelled for activity regarding the re-sale of tickets.”
This isn’t the first time that the Jets organization has stepped up to limit the actions of scalpers. Back in June, True North cancelled ticket transactions that they didn’t think were legitimate. After it only took 17 minutes to sell 13,000 season tickets, there were bound to be some issues with average fans looking for single game tickets. Mix in the aura and intrigue of the first regular season NHL game in fifteen years and tickets for Sunday’s game against Montreal have long since been spoken for. Predictably, not everyone who was lucky enough to land tickets plans on using the tickets.
To give proper perspective, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly asked for 14 tickets to the game—and was only given two by the organization. It’s not every day that an organization refuses to fill the prime minister’s ticket request.
We have to give it up to the Jets organization to do whatever they can to make sure the tickets are getting into the fans’ hands. There’s a supply-and-demand effecting going on in Winnipeg. The MTS Center only holds 15,015 for hockey games and there are about 684,000 people in Winnipeg who want tickets. Considering plenty of scalpers got their hands on the tickets for opening night—and the rest of the season—the Jets are doing their part to get face-value tickets into the hands of their fans.
We wonder: what would have been the going rate if were the Canadiens were playing their opening night game in Atlanta?
The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.
The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.
“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told NHL.com. “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”
McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.
But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.
That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.
“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”
Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.
Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight
Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.
Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”
The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.
Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.
But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.
“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.
“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”