The Ottawa Senators are taking steps to ensure they have as many hometown fans as possible attending home games, rather than seeing rival fans in Leafs and Canadiens jerseys sitting in the stands.
When season-ticket holders are unable to attend a so-called "key rivalry" game, the team wants to try to put a Sens fan in their spot.
That's why, as part of the season's ticket package sent out last month, the team included a letter asking ticket holders not to sell off their tickets to fans of rival teams in selected games.
"In past years, some of our key rivals have had a large number of fans in attendance for our home games," said team president Cyril Leeder, in the letter sent to fans late last month.
"We are taking steps to change that and are asking for your support."
Team will help fans looking to sell
The team is even willing to help a season-ticket holder find a Sens fan who can fill an unused seat.The Ottawa Senators sent a letter to season-ticket holders in January, urging them to take part in an initiative to put Sens fans in their seats for key games this season. (CBC)
Jeff Kyle, the team's vice-president of marketing, said the push to get more Sens fans to Scotiabank Place comes amid complaints about the "environment at the games" when too many rival spectators are present.
"We've taken steps … to make sure that all fans can feel safe and comfortable at every game that they’re at, no matter which team we’re playing," Kyle said.
Furthermore, Kyle said "from our view, we want to have good rivalries with teams like Toronto and Montreal, but we want to make sure the competition stays on the ice, first and foremost."
But Kyle said the team has an overall goal of trying to encourage their season-ticket holders "to use those seats for those big games to get as much Senators red and support in the building as possible."
In terms of the Battle of Ontario, the Leafs will play the Senators five more times this season. Their next matchup will take place in Toronto on Saturday.
Ottawa has only two more games against the Canadiens — one this month and one next.
Going into Wednesday's scheduled games, the Leafs sat just one spot ahead of the Senators in the Eastern Conference standings, but both teams had the same number of points.
Montreal is currently in seventh place in the conference.With files from the CBC's Jamie Long