Vancouver Canucks collapse causes fan backlash
A 'Fire Mike Gillis' Facebook page has sprung up, and fans say they can't give away tickets
Season-ticket holders and scalpers say the price of a Vancouver Canucks ticket is not what it used to be, and they are worth even less following the team's stunning collapse on Monday night.
The Canucks gave up seven third period goals — blowing an initial three goal lead — and wound up losing 7-4 to the New York Islanders.
Greg Baker is a longtime Canucks season-ticket holder, but says that could soon change.
"I'm going to have to think very, very hard about whether to renew this year, just based on what I've seen so far."
Baker says he cannot get rid of tickets, even when he tries to sell them below face value.
"I've had no luck with Craigslist," he said. "It's just because there's no demand. I can't even give the tickets away half the time."
Ticket business at all-time low
Even ticket brokers are surprised by how fast things went downhill for the Canucks. Mario Livich with ShowTime Tickets says business is at an all-time low.
"It's our 30th year in business and we've never seen such a low feeling among fans," says Livich.
"People are calling to dump tickets and get rid of them and drop them off on consignment for us, and saying do what you can to sell them for us."
ShowTime is selling tickets starting at $39 — half the price of what the box office would normally charge.
"It's purely an emotional play," says Livich. "If fans believe and they have hope the team can do something, they will invest financially and emotionally."
"But right now they've had their hearts broken, similar to any relationship. So when their hearts are broken, they're very cautious."
Fans on Facebook want Gillis fired
Fans are not impressed with the players' performance on ice, and management's moves off ice. Some have taken to Facebook calling for Gillis to be fired.
At practice on Tuesday, Canucks head coach John Tortorella defended the team.
"I have every reason to be upset about what's happening, but there's not going to be lack of trying to fix this, and I'm not sure where it goes, but it won't be from a lack of trying."
UBC marketing professor Tim Silk says in order to keep the Canucks brand strong, the team must explain their decisions to fans.
"If you're saying that we're all Canucks and we're surprised at the decision-making and we feel duped, that's the problem," says Silk.
"In some ways it's a fantastic slogan, but it also creates expectations that people kind of have a big investment in the team, and I think the lack of transparency is what's hurting them here."
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis did send a letter to season ticket holders explaining recent decisions like trading goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers, but it seems it was not enough to bring fans like Baker back. He says he is done for the season.
"I'm all about value for money. It costs me over $300 for us to go to the game," he says.
"By the time we leave, it's $400 for 60 minutes of a mediocre product and I think, 'Okay, that's piano lessons for my three kids.'"
With files from the CBC's Bal Brach