Successful experiment with Canucks games led to Cineplex going to Leafs

The pay-per-view business has been successful enough in British Columbia and Alberta to encourage Cineplex Entertainment to announce new deals with the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

There is nothing revolutionary about showing hockey in movie theatres. The Leafs tried it in Toronto when they were winning championships during the ’60s.

A total of 13 Canucks games not available on cable TV are being shown on giant curved screens in high definition with surround sound at nine participating B.C. cinemas this season. The next game is Nov. 19 when it’ll be the Canucks versus the Chicago Blackhawks.

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The Leafs and Cineplex have arranged for seven games scheduled for Leafs TV, the team’s specialty cable service, to also be shown live in 25 Ontario theatres. First game on the big screen will be Toronto versus the Florida Panthers on Nov. 2. The eastern section of the province is excluded since it falls within Ottawa Senators rights territory.

Adult ticket prices for Canucks and Leafs games in Cineplex theatres are $10.95 plus taxes.

John Shannon, the head of broadcasting for the NHL, said he’s unaware of any similar deals between U.S. teams and cinema chains.