Monday, September 18, 2006

NHL Back In Winnipeg! ...For tonight, At Least.

The NHL returned to Winnipeg, not with the Jets, but with pre-season hockey featuring the Phoenix Coyotes and the Edmonton Oilers.. This was the first game of the pre-season for both teams, but despite the uninspired sloppy play, this didn't matter to the 15,000+ fans in the sold-out MTS Centre. Winnipeg fans had a chance to see some NHL regulars such as Ed Jovanovski (first game with the Coyotes), Shane Doan (ex-Jet), Owen Nolan, Jarret Stoll and of course Coyote's coach, Wayne Gretzky.

The Oilers were greeted with loud cheers, justly so following their great playoff run last spring captivating the imaginations of hopeful Canadian hockey fans starved to bring back the cup to Canada. In Winnipeg, many of these ex-Jet fans feel just bringing a team back to the city would be good enough for them. When the Jets left Winnipeg for the desert in Phoenix, the feeling was and probably still is, we'll never get a NHL franchise, at least not with our economy and the high cost of maintaining a pro team. At tonight's game, fans were handed a flyer distributed by giving a hypothetical seating pricing chart for what NHL hockey might cost if we get a team back. This gives us a realistic idea of how fans would have to dig a little deeper (perhaps a lot deeper) to go to a single game. For a regular season Moose game, my mini-pack tickets cost $13 per seat or $17 walk up (cheapest seats, Green section), the pre-season Oilers/Coyotes cost me $59 and with the estimated NHL cost I would be putting out $69 per seat, per game. Here's what it might look like:

11 Game per month 22 Game per month Season* per month
Platinum $1155.00 $96.25 $2310.00 $192.50 $4620.00 $385.00
Club $1045.00 $87.08 $2090.00 $174.17 $4180.00 $348.33
Red $979.00 $81.58 $1958.00 $163.17

Blue1 $869.00 $72.42 $1738.00 $144.83

Blue 2 $759.00 $63.25 $1518.00 $126.50

Green 1 $594.00 $49.50 $1188.00 $99.00

Green 2 $484.00 $40.33 $968.00 $80.67

Green 3 $374.00 $31.17 $748.00 $62.33

My seats are in the Blue 2 section (200 level in the corner), I pay $143 dollars for my 11 game mini pack., that would be about a 5x increase. I'm not saying I wouldn't support the team if we got one, I'm just suggesting I might have to down grade to the upper deck or go to less games. Can we sell 13-15,000 seats all season? I know with the Jets there were a lot of cold winter nights when we were lucky to have 9,000, will penny pinching Winnipegers buy at least 10,000 season tickets? I don't think there will be a problem to sell the private boxes or the Platinum and Club seats, there's enough companies, corporations and rich people to shell out that kind of dough. I'm more worried about the mid-range price groups, the Reds and Blues, that's $3-4,000 per season ticket, and if we can't sell out these sections every night we won't keep a team for long. Personally I would love to see NHL hockey back, the quality is higher, big name stars would come into town and it would give our city more international respect and profile. I also enjoy the Moose and the AHL, the action is quick, fast and entertaining. There may be a lack of star power, but we get to see up and coming stars and the overall experience is fun and affordable! Please check out Darren Ford's site (Jet' for more information and if you support a return of the Jet's (or whatever they would be called) let him know!

The building was packed for this meaningless exhibition game of two non-hometown teams, so I think this game will project a very positive impression to the league and to the powers of our city. What we need is an owner that is willing to take a chance (gamble?) and give the fans a opportunity to show they can support a team...Oh yeah, I think the Oiler's won 5-0. Please let me know what you think, in the comment section.

1 comment:

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