Dean Eastman is the Montreal Canadiens' correspondent for OurHometown.ca Dean was born in Cornwall and raised in Long Sault and has been a loyal Habs fan since the days of the Pocket Rocket and the Roadrunner. He now calls Whitby, Ontario home to his wife Heather and young son Eric. Dean is passionate about his hockey, whether it be from the junior or professional ranks. Dean will provide current news and views on the Montreal Canadiens' organization from a global perspective. If you have questions or wish to contact Dean, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
NHL Ticket Prices – It’s called Pre-Season for a reason
I have many fond memories of my childhood, growing up in Long Sault. I can still remember those Saturday evenings where as a family unit, the Eastman clan would gather around the television set, eagerly anticipating the start of Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) and the Montreal Canadiens. My brother, sister, mother, father and I would always watch ‘Canada’s Country Gentleman’ the Tommy Hunter Show just before hearing the sweet sounds of the HNIC hockey theme with the iconic voice of Danny Gallivan.
Whitby - Aug. 29, 2011 - The days (16 and counting) continue to slowly pass by until the start of NHL pre-season in Montreal. The pungent smell of hockey gloves is in the air and I am itching to get the 2011-12 hockey season into high gear.
Ticket Prices - It’s Called Pre-Season for a Reason
I have many fond memories of my childhood, growing up in Long Sault. I can still remember those Saturday evenings where as a family unit, the Eastman clan would gather around the television set, eagerly anticipating the start of Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC). My brother, sister, mother, father and I would always watch ‘Canada’s Country Gentleman’ the Tommy Hunter Show just before hearing the sweet sounds of the HNIC hockey theme with the iconic voice of Danny Gallivan. Mr. Gallivan became a part of the family, so to speak, on each and every Saturday night.
Danny Gallivan was a very colourful commentator with various hockey descriptions of action on the ice. I can still recall those "cannonading drives" from the point, the "scintillating" saves made by Ken Dryden and of course, “The Savardian Spinarama” which will always be one of my favourite Gallivanisms. Aside from the team itself, I truly believe my passion for Les Habitants and hockey in general runs deep, largely in part to my growing up listening to the passion of Danny Gallivan and the legacy he left behind by calling each and every Montreal Canadiens’ game in my early years.
As a young boy, I remember my parents taking me to my first ever live Montreal Canadiens’ game at the Montreal Forum against the St. Louis Blues. While I don’t remember the final score or who played in nets that game, what I do remember is the enormity of the game and the thousands of devoted fans that lined the seats in the Forum that night. I can still recall the thunderous applause and the chanting from the fans in support of our hometown heroes. Seeing the game live opened my eyes to everything that hockey has to offer, both as a fan and as a player.
Fast forward nearly 30 years later and economics largely come into play when the discussion of NHL ticket prices is discussed. I never lose sight of the fact that it was a privilege for me to be given the opportunity to attend a professional hockey game in Montreal so many years ago with my mother and father. In today’s economic climate, not every child is as lucky as I was growing up. The average price per ticket to a NHL hockey game has risen dramatically over the years.
As we head into the 2011/12 NHL pre-season, ticket prices can be viewed in one of two ways. If one does not mind the ‘cheap seats’, prices are adequate; the seating and the view are not. Alternatively, if one can afford ‘la crème de la crème’ that a NHL ticket provides, that fortunate individual beholds a magical experience as the professional players will become larger than life in proximity to their assigned seats.
A quick review of pre-season ticket prices supports my assertions:
Ottawa: Prices range from $7.50 (standing room) to $150.00 per ticket.
Montreal: Prices range from $24.00 to $135.00 per ticket.
Toronto: Prices range from $35.50 to $743.50 per ticket.
How can a family of four justify spending outrageous sums of money to watch their favourite teams in person during the pre-season alone? They can’t. The price of the pre-season ticket is only the beginning for this family of four. The family also has to consider the additional costs inherent in a roundtrip outing to the Bell Centre for example. There are the incidental costs of gas, parking, food and drink and perhaps a small, yet expensive, souvenir as a keepsake. After all is said and done, this family of four will have most probably spent in excess of $400.00 ($200.00 for four tickets, $100.00 for transportation costs and $100.00 for meals) for one evening of entertainment!
The real kicker to spending $400.00 on a pre-season NHL game in Montreal stems the fact that pre-season hockey does not normally include a fully dressed team of regular NHL players for either the home or visiting squad. An early September pre-season game usually sees an NHL team dressing most of their prospects in the organization and less regular full-time players. If you want to be able to watch almost the equivalent of a regular season NHL game during pre-season, you should attend a later pre-season game when the chances are greater of you seeing your favourite team ice a beginning season roster.
All NHL organizations should consider the ‘little guy’ when devising their pricing scheme for pre-season hockey games. Hockey fans, both young and old deserve at least one opportunity to see these gifted athletes up close and personal without having to hand over their first born. Give an honest hard working ‘Canadien’ family a chance to see their heroes live and in person - at an affordable price.
Thank you to OH reader, Frank McDonald for submitting this topic for discussion.
On August 25th, John Bartlett, former announcer for the Barrie Colts of the OHL, was announced as the new English play-by-play voice of the Montreal Canadiens for THE TEAM 990 radio station in Montreal. THE TEAM 990 is the home of the Montreal Canadiens. It recently acquired exclusive English radio broadcast rights to all of the Montreal Canadiens games for the next seven years.
The Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), acquired 20 year old,
Montreal Canadiens 2009 1st round (18th overall) draft choice Louis Leblanc from Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for three draft picks. Leblanc had 26 goals and 58 points in 51 games with the Montreal Juniors last season. Leblanc is recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery and anticipates
to be ready for the 2011/12 season.
Down on the Farm
AHL Outdoor Classic - January 21, 2012
It is expected that the Hamilton Bulldogs will formally announce this Tuesday that the team will be playing against the Toronto Marlies at Ivor Wynne Stadium outdoors in Hamilton on January 21, 2012, at 1:00p.m. Ivor Wynne Stadium has a seating capacity of 29,600.
Neutral Zone Nailer
August 25th - Nailers re-sign two key players
Forward Chris Minella and defenseman Peter Merth are returning for the 2011-12 season.
Minella had his rookie campaign in 2010/11 whereby he played in 13 games with the Nailers and registered four points. Merth, a New Westminster, BC native, played his NCAA hockey at RPI for four years from 2006-10.
David Desharnais, Re-Signs Two Year Contract, June 2011
Standing at a gargantuan and generously listed height of 5’7” and weighing in at 177 lbs, this can’t miss offensively talented centreman of the Montreal Canadiens is the real deal. Born
on September 14, 1986 (25 yrs old) in Laurier-Station, Quebec,
David Desharnais is a left-handed shot and is destined for many
favourable scoring summary headlines in NHL matches to come.
Desharnais bypassed the NHL entry draft, largely in part due
to his vertically challenged stature, packed his lunch box and
worked his way to the big leagues the old-fashioned way - he earned it. He tallied 374 points in 262 games in the QMJHL and then proceeded to set a rookie scoring record with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.
Last season with the Canadiens, Desharnais impressed his critics and coaches enough that you will see this ‘little guy’ become a regular full-time skater with the big club. In 43 games, Desharnais scored 8 goals and added 14 assists for 22 points.
Desharnais is an extremely skilled and creative mind with the puck and is not afraid of the rough play, whether it be in the corners or in front of the opposition’s netminder. However, he will continue to face tough competition for the third line centreman position with Lars Eller this season.
Should the Canadiens be faced with multiple injuries once again this season, don’t be surprised to see Desharnais playing on one of Montreal’s top two lines, not to mention, their power play.
Dump and Chase
Habs’ Pre-Season Schedule Set
MTL (in Halifax, NS)
Tampa Bay (in Quebec City, PQ)
Pre-season tickets go on sale this Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 10:00a.m.
Regular season tickets go on sale Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 10:00a.m.
After three weeks and counting of submitting Habs-related sports columns, look for three-a-week entries once the 2011-12 NHL pre-season begins.
Just not satisfied enough? Try this YouTube video below by PepR3m on for size. Enjoy…
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…
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