Baby must pay: NHL says 6-month-old needs ticket to see Heritage Classic
Parents surprised to learn they have to pay hundreds more to bring breastfeeding son to game
An NHL policy that requires a six-month-old baby to have a ticket for a seat he can't sit in is "absurd," a Winnipeg couple says.
Shalyn Meady and Clifford Anderson purchased four ticket packages for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic game and the alumni game for $800, for themselves and for Anderson's sister and a friend.
It didn't even cross the couple's mind to purchase tickets for the October games for their young son, William, who is still breastfeeding and isn't old enough to sit up without help.
"It just seems so absurd," Anderson said.
"It never occurred to us that bringing William would be a problem."
Meady and Anderson said if they did purchase tickets for young William, it would cost them an additional $400.
"It seems really unreasonable that we'd have to pay that much more money at the time when we've already spent so much .… We got jerseys for ourselves; we also got this jersey for him — it's a lot of money," said Anderson.
"If we just bought it now, if we bought the cheapest ticket we could find, he wouldn't use the seat anyway, because until they're about two years old, they're not even heavy enough to hold the seat down," said Meady.
The couple contacted True North Sports & Entertainment and were referred to the NHL. Anderson said the NHL agent he spoke to said the policy is in place for safety reasons — every attendee must have a seat. The agent also said the policy is in place because the game is outdoors.
Meady is exclusively breastfeeding William and if he cannot attend, she can't either, she said.
"I'm exclusively breastfeeding, so for me not to be able to go because I can't bring him is another issue," she said.
Toronto man offers to cover ticket cost
Evan Kosiner of Toronto offered to cover the $400 for William's seat after hearing the parents' story.
"Hockey and skating has always been a great experience," he said Monday evening.
"When I heard about the family, I just thought it would be a great thing to be able to give back to them, to get a great first family hockey experience, and help them out personally."
The couple didn't accept the offer and said they weren't looking for a handout.
Kosiner is the chairman and a co-founder of Skate to Great, a non-profit organization that donates skating equipment to children in need.
He said the family deserves to attend the game together, and he believes the NHL should be more flexible in that regard.
"The fact that you can't have a mother with their child breastfeeding at a game, I think that might even be a human rights concern. But at the very least, the NHL should be making sure that families get closer together," he said.
CBC News contacted the NHL for a response, but league officials have yet to respond.
In 2014, a B.C. couple encountered the same issue when they attempted to take their six-month-old to the Heritage Classic in Vancouver without a ticket.