The Toronto Maple Leafs are the gold standard of the NHL, and if you don’t believe it consider this: according to Forbes, the Leafs had the
highest average ticket cost in 2013-14 at $368 per seat. If you purchased four at that price point for your family, it would have run you $1,472, just slightly more than an ounce of, you guessed it, gold. While they aren’t as rare as Willy Wonka’s golden tickets, in-demand hockey passes can feel pretty special when you clutch them in your hands. Attending the event is naturally
the thing, but the physical pieces of paper serve as proof you’re part of an exclusive club, if even just for a few hours.
This is especially true for children attending first games, but it can still be magical for the young at heart. Many of us even keep our stubs as a way to remember the good times. Others, such as Montreal-based collector Erle Schneidman, take it a step further and amass used tickets as a hobby and to help document history. The stubs, when viewed over several seasons, show the evolution of graphic design, language and growth of the economy. Here’s a selection from Schneidman’s collection, including tickets from some of the bigger events in hockey history.
Nov. 2, 1937 – The Howie Morenz Memorial Game
A fundraiser was held to aid the family of Howie Morenz, who died tragically in hospital in March of 1937 following complications from a broken leg. The game pitted players from Montreal's two teams – the Canadiens and Maroons – against a team of NHL stars. The all-stars won 6-5 and roughly $20,000 was raised from gate receipts and other donations. This ticket, featuring a classic image of the 'Stratford Streak', went for $1.15 (tax included), at a time when the average weekly salary was about $30.
Sept. 28, 1972 – Summit Series, Game 8
If you were fortunate enough to be in Moscow in September of 1972, it would have run you six rubles to see "Henderson score for Canada" live at the Luzhniki Ice Palace. If you could score this ticket, in the upper level. That translated to roughly $3.45 CDN. Of course, six rubles in '72 communist Soviet Russia was about 30 percent of a worker's weekly wage. Still seems like a deal – if you were cheering for Canada.
Dec. 31, 1975 – Greatest game ever played
When the Canadiens met Red Army on New Year's Eve, 1975, it was an exhibition contest, part of the 1976 Super Series with nothing tangible on the line. But with the Cold War still raging hot, the tension was high in what was ostensibly a best-on-best club team match-up. Vladislav Tretiak was the game-changer, rescuing a 3-3 tie for the Soviets in what has become known as one of the greatest games ever played. Eight bucks was the face value of this ticket in the West Terrace.
Feb. 22, 1980 – Miracle on Ice
Do you believe in minor miracles? It was only $67.20 for an ice level seat to see the perhaps the biggest upset in the history of sport. Maybe it didn't seem like a steal back in the day, when a gallon of gas went for $1 and the average car cost $5,500. But in retrospect, who wouldn't have parted with that chunk of change to see Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione and the boys slay the Soviet giant?
Feb. 28, 2010 – The Golden Goal
Thirty years after Miracle, it took some good fortune and a small fortune to get a ticket to the gold medal game in Vancouver. The face value of this seat is $550, more than eight times the going rate in 1980. Of course, those who attended, forever have the priceless memory of Sidney Crosby scoring the winner, in overtime, on home soil.