The IIHF said Hockey Canada was responsible for the ticket prices that may have led to empty seats at Montreal’s Bell Centre for preliminary games at the world junior hockey championship.
Face-value tickets for games in Montreal started at $71 and ranged to $336 for the New Year’s Eve game between Canada and the United States, which drew 18,295 fans. Just 14,142 fans were in attendance for Canada’s opening game against Slovakia on Boxing Day.
The capacity of Bell Centre is 21,273.
Tickets for Canada’s first three round-robin games (against Slovakia, Germany and Finland) ranged from $66 to $261.
“I was really surprised,” IIHF president René Fasel said at a news conference Sunday. “If you would do this pricing in Europe, you would have nobody in the arena.”
The average NHL ticket price is in the $65 range. Face-value single-game tickets for the Canadiens’ next home game Jan. 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning range from $27 in the family zone to $275 in the platinum level.
The Canadiens play just above capacity and are second in the league in attendance with an average of 21,286 fans a game.
Fasel wondered if marketing and the economy in Montreal played a role in the world junior attendance problems. He conceded not personally knowing what the ticket value should be, but added, “Hockey Canada decides the prices of the tickets, not us.”
$261 to wach Slovakia and Finland play seems a little high for a round robin game. In fact that was the best part of the tournament in Saskatoon was that you could afford (and get tickets) to a Slovakia and Switzerland game and not have to pay an arm and a leg (and be in a packed SaskTel Centre full of fans cheering for both teams).