World Juniors: Empty Seats Due to High Price in Montreal

The World Juniors, taking place in Montreal and Toronto this year, have been really exciting so far. As always, we get to view some of the best hockey in the world, and it has not been disappointing. I was fortunate enough to buy tickets to watch Finland face the United States on December 26th, Boxing Day. The U.S. beat Finland 2-1 in a shootout. Despite having been a wonderful game, the Bell Centre wasn’t full like it is when the Montreal Canadiens are playing, with only 8000+ fans in attendance. Now, I understand it isn’t the NHL, but many of these young hockey players could be in the NHL one day. Why haven’t there been sell-outs to see Team Canada play, and why haven’t other teams, like the US, drawn more than 10 000 fans?
There have been a few factors, but the biggest, by far, is the fact that the tickets have out-priced the market, and the market doesn’t want to pay. When the tickets first went on sale, there were only packages available, but not everyone was biting, so when the people in charge realized that Montreal wasn’t willing to shell out the money, they caved, and started to sell single seats, which is how I managed to see the U.S-Finland game. However, that was the only game I was able to see. I won’t be able to see Team Canada play, because those tickets were even more expensive, and out of my price range. This has been the case for many others in Montreal.
The ticket prices for games not involving Team Canada ranged from $36-$136, which is not outrageous, but to sit close, it got expensive. As for the Team Canada games, they cost between $66-$261, with the game between Canada and the USA jumping up to $77-$336. The quarterfinals drop in price, but are still ridiculously high for the average fan who just spent a lot of money on the holidays. To understand how expensive these seats are, take a look at how much the Montreal Canadiens charge for regular, non-optimum, games: the cheapest seat is $52, while the most expensive seat is $275, so now, the decision comes to this: do you to spend a substantial amount of money on the Juniors, or pay a little bit more for the Habs? The answer is usually going to be the Habs.
The World Junior Championship had been given a perfect chance to show world-class hockey for a fair price to everyone, but unfortunately, Hockey Canada and Evenko didn’t deliver. That is disappointing, because it is no secret that seeing an NHL game for the average family of four is almost impossible these days. The Juniors would have been a great chance to have many more families go to the Bell Centre and enjoy the hockey experience.
So what can they do? Not much right now, but when the World Juniors come back in 2017, and Montreal hosts group B, making tickets cheaper than they are now should be a prime focus. There won’t be any Canada games in the preliminaries, but there will still be good hockey teams, and if the IIHF, Hockey Canada, Evenko, Molson, and so on, care about promoting hockey, they will make it affordable for everyone. I’m not asking for the medal games to be cheap, but give families, and average folks who aren’t rolling in the money, a chance to see some games.
It’s a real shame that the Team Canada games aren’t being sold out, as this is a fantastic chance to see some great future players like Connor McDavid, Max Domi, Zach Fucale, and many more, before they play in the NHL. There are a lot of people out there who wanted to see some Junior games, but not everyone can afford it, especially with the holiday season taking a toll on their wallets. I hope that next time, the powers that be allow some tickets to be affordable for everyone, because a packed Bell Centre is a fantastic party, no matter what the occasion.

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