All ticket packages made available for the 2012 World Junior Hockey tournament in Alberta have been sold, Hockey Canada says.
More than 17,000 ticket packages, representing about 275,000 tickets, were made available through a priority draw that was supposed to end Friday.
But Hockey Canada said that all tickets are now gone — including the approximately 225,000 tickets that had previously been purchased by season ticket holders of the Calgary Hitmen, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oil Kings and Edmonton Oilers — due to "unprecedented interest" from those in the priority draw.
Hockey Canada held a lottery for the ticket packages, and the chosen few were given priority codes with which they could book tickets on a staggered basis.
'They bought a lot more than we thought they would.' — Jim Peplinski, world juniors co-chair
On Wednesday morning, only pairs of tickets were available. Later in the day, only single seats were available.
On Thursday, some of those hopefuls were sent an email saying the ticket packages were sold out, leaving those with pass codes for later in the week out of luck.
"I almost saw this coming," said Calgarian Nancy Nuessler, who missed out on tickets after they sold out before her buying time at noon Thursday.
"By the end of yesterday, there was only singles available apparently. But I had faith there would be tickets made available for me because I won the draw."
Jim Peplinski, a former Calgary Flames captain and co-chair of the organizing committee, said the ticket packages happened were picked up on a first-come, first-served basis.
"We had calculated the number of tickets we thought each ticket purchaser would buy on average, and as it turned out they bought a lot more than we thought they would, so the people at the back of that line never got a chance," Peplinski said.
There was never any guarantee people would actually get the tickets they wanted, he said.
Ticket packages are already up Kijiji and Craigslist at double or more their face value.
"The response from hockey fans to the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship priority draw process continues to exceed all of our expectations," Bob Nicholson, Hockey Canada CEO and member of the tournament steering committee, said in a news release.
"The interest in this event is even beyond what any of us imagined when we started preparing for this event back in 2008. All of Alberta has embraced the World Juniors and we will be part of a very special event in December 2011."
The Calgary event package was for 21 games, including the gold medal game, bronze medal game, semifinals, quarter-finals and 10 preliminary round games.
The Edmonton event package of 10 games included four guaranteed preliminary round games featuring Canada's National Junior Team.
The world juniors run Dec. 26, 2011, to Jan. 5, 2012.