Canucks' email dashes hopes of thousands of youngsters

An email glitch at the front office of the Vancouver Canucks has left thousands of B.C. minor league hockey players thoroughly disappointed.

300 minor-league teams mistakenly told they'd won tickets to Sunday's Heritage Classic

Thousands of minor hockey players disappointed 2:16

An email glitch in the front office of the Vancouver Canucks has left thousands of B.C. minor league hockey players thoroughly disappointed, including the Abbotsford Jets, a squad of eight-year-olds from the Fraser Valley.

Members of the Abbotsford Minor Hockey League team thought they would be going to the Heritage Classic at BC Place on Sunday, but the tickets team members thought they had won turned out to be nothing but a computer error.

The congratulatory email they received was the result of an email glitch. A total of 1,100 teams were emailed about the contest and 300 teams replied.  All those teams, about 3,000 hockey players according to the Canucks, were told they had won.

Father and Abbotsford coach Anthony Bucci first received an email from the Canucks offering a chance to win tickets for his young squad. He quickly responded and then received another email congratulating him on winning tickets.

Canucks spokesman Chris Brumwell said instead of getting a standard "thank you for entering" email, the teams all got emails saying they had won.

Bucci said he followed up twice wondering where he could pick up his tickets, only to be told the Canucks wouldn't be able to provide them.

Looking up to Canucks

"[The players] were really happy to go and excited and jumping up and down. And then I had to tell them that, 'Hey, we're not going now. They took the tickets away,'" said Bucci.

"They're eight years old, future hockey players, and they look up to the Canucks. Now they don't get to go and participate in probably what's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime game."

Player Jayden Bucci said he is disappointed and would like the Canucks to give his team tickets to another game to make up for the error.

Players from the Abbotsford Minor Hockey League were told they had won tickets to the Heritage Classic, but the email sent by the Vancouver Canucks congratulating the team turned out to be due to a computer error.

"I was excited to go, but now I can't," he said.

"I'm disappointed too," said player Brenden Smallenberg.

"I was hoping to go and now we're not going to go to the game. I was hoping to see the Ottawa Senators against the Canucks." 

Brumwell said it was all just an unfortunate mistake.

"It didn't roll out properly," he said. "We are trying to put our heads together, and we'll hopefully be able to get back to those teams that didn't win tickets [with] some good news about something that will get the kids excited again."

On Wednesday, the Jets got yet another email offering another contest for NHL tickets.

Anthony Bucci said he is not only confused, but looking for an apology from the Canucks.

Trying to 'make good'

Thursday, Brumwell said the Canucks wanted to make it up to the roughly 150 teams of youngsters who were let down by the false email.

The teams have been invited to a special Canucks practice March 22 and will be given tickets to a game next season.

"We ultimately want to make good with the kids, bring them to a Canucks practice and give them an experience they'll be really excited about," said Brumwell.

He could not give the date of which Canucks game specifically the teams would be invited to.

Bucci said he still hasn't heard from the franchise personally, but he is grateful for the gesture of good will.

"It's good they're going to help us out," he said.

"Unfortunately it's next season, and my team's going to get split up by then."


  • The Vancouver Canucks have clarified that while 1,100 emails were sent to minor league teams in the Heritage Classic contest, only 300 teams replied. All the players on those teams mistakenly got messages they'd won. Thousands of young hockey players were still affected.
    Feb 27, 2014 5:38 PM PT

With files from the CBC's Emily Elias