The IIHF said Hockey Canada was responsible for the ticket prices that may have led to empty seats at Montrealâ€™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 Yearâ€™s Eve game between Canada and the United States, which drew 18,295 fans. Just 14,142 fans were in attendance for Canadaâ€™s opening game against Slovakia on Boxing Day.
The capacity of Bell Centre is 21,273.
Tickets for Canadaâ€™s first three round-robin games (against Slovakia, Germany and Finland) ranged from $66 to $261.
â€œI was really surprised,â€ IIHF president RenÃ© Fasel said at a news conference Sunday. â€œIf you would do this pricing in Europe, you would have nobody in the arena.â€
The average NHL ticket price is in the $65 range. Face-value single-game tickets for the Canadiensâ€™ 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, â€œHockey Canada decides the prices of the tickets, not us.â€
$261 to wach Slovakia and Finland play seems a little high for a round robin game. Â 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).