Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
A night out with a friend or the family to watch a hockey game is usually a great time full of excitement and history. The anticipation felt when the players take the ice for the warm up, the zambonis resurfacing the ice, the National anthem(s), the buzz in the crowd; these all add to that crescendo until the puck drops and the speed and physicality of the game and its players put you on the edge of your seat until that final horn sounds. Yes, what a great night!
It would be nice to be able to do that a little more often though, wouldn’t it? Average National Hockey League (NHL) ticket prices were just over fifty-one dollars last year. If you lived in a hockey hotbed like Toronto ($117) or Montreal ($72), well, there’s a much bigger hit to the pocket book. If you could find tickets, that is. Where were the cheapest tickets in the NHL? St. Louis claims this honour at just under thirty-eight dollars a shot.
With forty-one home games for each team, not counting any playoff games, it becomes pretty obvious the average family is not going to be witnessing this fine spectacle very often. Do not forget that that price is just to get you in the doors. If you want overpriced food and refreshment, parking, programs and souvenirs you may need to break out that gold card.
Who shows up to these games then, as mentioned, the city with the priciest ticket prices in the league sells out every game without fail? Looking around at the best seats (no, not considering the luxury boxes), you will see high ranking businessmen, celebrities, and politicians interspersed with those fans decked out in home-team jerseys. Attend a hockey game in Ottawa and there is a good chance you could be watching the Senators (the team, not the ancient political body) with the Prime Minister of Canada.
Hmm, yes, there just seems to be a smattering of something that reminds one of the elite opera houses of Europe where status reigned supreme. Oh, right, there’s a game being played on that ice surface below, isn’t there? Let’s get back to that.
On the ice are highly skilled athletes that are being paid exorbitant salaries by you, the fans, so it is no wonder you had to put up big dollars to see them play in person. “Look, son, there’s Alex Ovechkin! Yes, I think that’s him. Did we bring the binoculars?” Isn’t it satisfying to be contributing to the 9.5 million or so dollars he is making a season?
Every hockey fan of every age should be able to have the chance to see their team play. For the sake of the game, ticket prices need to be affordable. Hockey games should be accessible to all. It really is that simple.