Winnipeg Jets season ticket holders are getting electronic cards instead of paper passes, prompting some to wonder how they're going to share their tickets with friends and family members.
The plastic cards started arriving in ticket holders' mailboxes this week, replacing the books of paper tickets they had last season.
The card stores all of a customer's ticket information electronically and has a barcode that is scanned at the MTS Centre.
"They didn't tell the season ticket holders that any of this was going to be happening," said Dan Edinborough, who received his card on Monday.
"They didn't ask us, and it was just a surprise with five days before the first game of the regular season."
Edinborough said he doesn't know how he can share one card with the 13 other people who share his seat.
"Moving that little piece of plastic from one person to another the next day is next to impossible," he said.
Many Winnipeg Jets season ticket holders share their seats with a number of other people, like family members, friends and co-workers.
In the past, the books of paper tickets would be split among the group, with each member receiving tickets to a certain number of games.
Edinborough said he has learned from True North Sports and Entertainment that the new electronic tickets can be forwarded by email, reprinted at home, or left at the "will call" window at the MTS Centre.
Some fees being waived
Fans also learned that administrative fees would be attached to those options, although two of those options were initially going to be waived for this season only:
- Forwarding tickets by email — $2.50 per ticket fee waived this season.
- Reprinting tickets at home — $2.50 per ticket fee waived this season.
- Leaving tickets at the "will call" window — $2.50 per ticket fee applies.
True North has since announced it will not charge fans in future seasons for forwarding and reprinting their tickets.
"Based on some comments that have come over the past 24 hours from fans, to be clear about where we're going after 2012-2013, that transferring and reprinting fee will be waived," chief executive officer Jim Ludlow told reporters on Tuesday.
Ludlow said even with the fees waived, the new tickets won't help fans who want to collect and frame their game tickets.
"Those will not be the kinds of tickets that you typically see in a season ticket book, which are printed in colour, all teams, names, logos and that sort of thing," he said.
Ludlow said True North is working on a plan in which fans can buy copies of game tickets that would be good enough to frame.
Ludlow said the electronic ticketing system will make it more convenient for fans, as well as ensure anyone who buys a single-game ticket won't be the victim of fraud.
Edinborough said officials have told him that 16 NHL teams now use paperless ticketing systems. A number of NBA, MLB, NFL and U.S. college sports teams also use the cards.
Game tickets hard to find
Jets tickets are certainly the hottest tickets in town these days, now that the NHL lockout is over and a condensed season is set to begin Saturday.
The Jets will take on the Ottawa Senators at the MTS Centre on Saturday afternoon, kicking off a triple-header on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.
About 5,000 fans packed the arena for an open practice on Sunday, with some saying it might be the closest they can get to seeing a game there.
As was the case last season, when all of the Jets' home games were essentially sold out, fans have been hard-pressed to find single-game tickets so far this season.
Some looked on Kijiji and other websites for tickets on Monday. Some claimed to be willing to trade anything from a Taylor Swift concert ticket to a 12-foot boat just to see the Jets play.
Other hockey fans, like Imran Barlas, say they just want to pay face value and not get ripped off.
"Going through Kijiji, it's not a guarantee that the tickets are real. There's always the doubt, when you go get it, that it could be fake, and you won't know it until you get to the rink," he said.
Other fans say they have tried going through the team's Seat Exchange program for single-game tickets, but without any luck.
Other fans are hoping to score with contests like the one hosted by restaurant chain Boston Pizza, which is giving away four ice-level tickets to every home game.
Jets officials say fans can try to secure tickets through the Seat Exchange website, the team's random ticket draw, and walk-up sales.