Some season tickets to Winnipeg's new NHL team are already being re-sold on line by scalpers, adding insult to injury for hockey fans in the city.
But True North Sports and Entertainment, the owner of the new team, has issued strict warnings to those so-called ticket brokers and the fans who buy from them.
"If you're a buyer who just bought off Kijiji and you show up [to claim the tickets] and you're not actually the guy who placed the order online, we're going to cancel the transaction," said Scott Brown, communications director at True North.
"So we're going to take the guy's money who gave us the $1,000 and we're just going to cancel the seats on the guy who showed up.
We will need to see, for the most part, the whites of your eyeballs and to verify that you are indeed the person who filled out the information online … because all the seats selection appointments will be done in person."
Elation about the NHL's return to Winnipeg turned to frustration for thousands of fans when season tickets sold out in 17 minutes on Saturday.
Organizers said later that the online queue for purchasing tickets was actually full in two minutes, with the remaining 15 minutes required to process the sales.
A waiting list was then set up on the website Drive to 13,000, with a non-refundable deposit of $50 per seat required to join the list. The 8,000-ticket cap on the list was reached moments later.
Online classified sites like Kijiji and eBay are rife with people begging for tickets and willing to pay thousands of dollars above the cost.
'I've gotten some people who are just totally upset about the fact that, you know, I quote-unquote took their seats.'—Owner of AJ Tickets
And some of those taking advantage of the demand are scalpers who managed to get ticket packages, which are now listed online for inflated prices. In some cases the asking price for four tickets over a three-season span is $120,000.
The actual cost, when purchased from True North, was $15,000.
Those are being offered by AJ Tickets, based out of Virgina. Since posting the tickets on eBay, the owner of AJ Tickets has been getting an earful from angry Winnipeggers.
"I've gotten some people who are just totally upset about the fact that, you know, I quote-unquote took their seats and then I've gotten people who just said, 'you know, I'm interested and you know, what can we do to make it happen?'" he said.
The man didn't want his name used because he has received some threats.
He said he didn't know he would have to pick up his tickets in person in Winnipeg, but said he is willing to do that.
Dallas Hiebert was working two different computers as soon as tickets went on sale to the general public at noon Saturday but came up empty.
He thinks it's up to hockey fans to send a message to resellers motivated by greed.
"These people can't afford to hold on to these tickets, so if we outwait them, they'll come down to a reasonable amount and people who really want to see the game will be there," he said.
Hiebert has posted his own ad online looking for NHL tickets, using a picture of his baby son in Jets gear to garner sympathy.
Another fan has posted an ad on Kijiji offering to trade the naming rights to his or her first-born son in exchange for two seats to the first "Jets" game.
"Will include the middle name of my second and third child as well," states the ad.
Yet another fan has offered up a 2001 Audi A4 with quattro all-wheel drive, fully loaded with leather seats.
Brown said True North never expected the tickets would be as hot a property as they have turned out to be.
"We do feel bad for for that because to be very honest with you we didn't expect what happened, we didn't," he said. "I was just saying to somebody, I don't think we expected Moose season ticket holders to buy the number of seats that they did."
True North was already more than halfway to its goal before tickets went on sale to the public Saturday, as more than 7,100 season ticket packages were snapped up over the previous three days in a pre-sale for season-ticket holders of the AHL's Manitoba Moose.
As for the name of the new team, Brown said there was no time set yet to make that announcement.
Many fans would like to see the return of the Jets name. An online petition has garnered nearly 12,000 signatures from fans who want True North to go that route.
Other names bandied about include the Manitoba Falcons, which would assuage those who live outside Winnipeg and feel the name should reflect the province as a whole, and pay homage to Canada's first Olympic gold-winning hockey team, the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons.