Babies get in free: NHL changes ticket policy after outcry in Winnipeg

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After an outcry in Winnipeg, the NHL has changed its ticketing policy to allow children under two years of age to enter special events without a ticket.

The statement from the league:

Over the last number of years, the League’s procedure for its Special Event games (e.g., NHL All-Star, NHL Winter Classic, NHL Stadium Series and NHL Heritage Classic) has required that any fan, regardless of age, be required to have a ticket to gain entry. After reviewing this practice, the League has decided to adopt a standard that more closely mirrors that of similar entertainment events and that to which local NHL Clubs adhere. While the League will strive to adopt such policy for these Special Event games, in some instances, it may not be possible or practical in a particular venue.

This new procedure will be effective for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ in Winnipeg on October 23, and, as such, children two years and older must have a ticket in order to gain entrance to Investors Group Field for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™. Children under two years of age may enter without a ticket but must sit on the lap of an accompanying adult.

This CBC.ca story from last month explains why the league made the change:

A Winnipeg couple say they will file a human rights complaint against the NHL for a policy requiring their breastfeeding baby to have a full-price ticket to the upcoming Heritage Classic, even after the league apologized and offered them free tickets.

Clifford Anderson and Shalyn Meady went public with their concerns earlier this week, after learning they would have to spend an extra $400 for their six-month-old son, William, to attend the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg next month.

The couple said they were told by the league that William, who is not old enough to sit upright without help, has to have his own seat for safety reasons.

The NHL said a refund can be obtained for any ticket that was bought for a child under two years of age to attend Sunday’s game.