SBD/January 8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL Open For Business: Teams Address Season-Ticket Holders, Sales, Refunds

About 10,500 Senators fans have remained committed throughout the lockout
The NHL lockout "set the Senators back a full year in terms of hitting their season ticket goal," so their hope is to "now get the number to 13,000 next season, when originally that was the desired target for 2012-13," according to Don Brennan of the OTTAWA SUN. Senators President Cyril Leeder yesterday said that about 10,500 fans "remain committed to season tickets, and the club is immediately shooting to lift that total to the 11,300 it was last year." He added that the "35 front-office employees who had been laid off have been brought back, and 25 more will be hired." Leeder said that the "message we would like to convey to the fans first and foremost is we are sorry. ... We really are sorry that they had to endure an extended work stoppage" (OTTAWA SUN, 1/8).

CALGARY: Flames VP/Sales Rollie Cyr yesterday said, "We made offers to all of our season ticket holders that they could get refunds for their tickets." In Calgary, Jenna McMurray notes Cyr "didn't have an exact number available, but said the number of people who requested a refund was in the 'low hundreds.'" The Flames have "about 7,000 season ticket holder accounts." Cyr said that translates "to about 14,000 seats." He said of the refund opportunity, "Very few people took advantage of that." He added that as of yesterday afternoon, "no one had requested a refund since news of the deal broke." However, Cyr said that "at least 10 people had reconsidered surrendering their tickets and requested them back" (CALGARY SUN, 1/8).

EDMONTON: Oilers President & CEO Patrick LaForge said that he hopes the league will "release revised schedules by this weekend." He said, "The season-ticket holders are already in, but it is a bit more complicated for the mini-pack guy." LaForge: "A lot of people are telling us to simply send them a list of new games to choose from. But for those people who are interested in certain teams, we won't be able to replicate the packages in every case." He said that refund requests "will be honoured" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 1/8).

COLUMBUS: Blue Jackets Senior VP & CMO John Browne said, “There’s been a lot of activity, not only with existing season-ticket holders but with people we’ve been talking to over the last couple of months who were waiting to see how things turned out. We sold a number of season tickets to people who were waiting on the sidelines.” Browne said that the team increased its season-ticket base during the lockout: "Not huge numbers, but the numbers actually grew." The Blue Jackets had "about 8,500 season-ticket holders last season." Browne said the team is “still in that ballpark" (DISPATCH.com, 1/8).

PITTSBURGH: Penguins co-Owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, and CEO David Morehouse issued a statement to the team's fans that said, "We offer our apology. There is nothing we can say to explain or excuse what has happened over the past four months. However, now that the NHL is back, we want to assure you that the Pittsburgh Penguins will do everything we can to regain your trust and show how much we value your amazing support" (TRIBLIVE.com, 1/7). CBSSPORTS.com's Brian Stubits wrote, "It's a nice start and certainly seems a bit more genuine than thanking the fans." Noting Burkle's role in the talks, Stubits added, "The opening two lines of the apology read like they came from an owner who tried his best" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/7). ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun wrote, "Credit the Pittsburgh Penguins for their candor." LeBrun: "Talk about honest. And gutsy" (ESPN.com, 1/7).

NASHVILLE: Predators GM David Poile in a statement said, "I’d like to apologize to the fans and anybody who cares about hockey and especially the Nashville Predators. ... We’re all disappointed that it turned out the way it did. It’s really unfortunate, but like anything in life, whether it’s your relationship with the Predators and hockey, or your personal relationships, sometimes things go wrong and you need to apologize, and I’m apologizing. Sometimes you need forgiveness and you need to move on, and that’s what we’re going to do today" (TENNESSEAN.com, 1/7).

ST. LOUIS: In St. Louis, David Hunn notes the Blues e-mailed "an apology to ticket holders, began arranging to get players back to the city and returned the team’s 100 staffers back to full-time -- and full pay -- for the first time since mid-October" (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 1/8).
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