No matter how hard the Ottawa Senators may have tried, it appears nothing will keep Montreal Canadiens fans out of the Canadian Tire Centre thanks to the secondary sales market.
The Senators, like the Lightning and Predators, were attempting to keep the home atmosphere rocking when they take on the Canadiens in game three of the first-round series, which will take place Sunday. However, thanks to fans who bought up a number of tickets for the sole purpose of selling them online and out front of the building before the game, it seems as though there could be more of a split crowd than Senators management had hoped.
According to the National Post’s Christopher Curtis, there were tickets online for sale mere minutes after the Senators’ announcement that they were reserving the right to refuse sale to customers outside of the Ottawa region. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were still several pairs of tickets remaining on secondary sales websites for games three and four of the series.
Restrictions were placed on those with credit card billing information that did not fall within the, “National Capital Region, Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec,” CapitalTickets.ca announced Monday.
The tactics employed by Tampa Bay and Nashville to keep fans of their first round opponents out of their respective buildings work in large part due to the distance separating Tampa Bay from Detroit and Nashville from Chicago.
Red Wings fans, for instance, would have to have a credit card issued in Florida and, were they based in Detroit, travel upwards of 1,900 km (1,200 mi.) to the opening games of the series. Blackhawks fans would also have a trek on their hands, as more than 750 km (470 mi.) separate the Windy City from Music City. In addition, Predators season ticket holders were given the right to purchase additional seats and tickets were sold at local Nashville establishments before online sales opened up, making it increasingly difficult for Blackhawks fans to score seats.
So maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising that Ottawa’s attempt to keep Montreal fans out of the Canadian Tire Centre has blown up in their face. After all, it’s a scant 200 km (125 mi.) distance between the two cities. That’s somewhere in the range of a two hour drive – a walk in the park compared to the eight hour drive for Chicago fans or two and a half hour flight facing Detroit faithful.
It won’t be until Sunday’s game when we’ll get a true measure of how many Canadiens fans slipped through the cracks and found their way through the Canadian Tire Centre doors, but it wouldn’t be shocking were the building to be split more evenly than any other this post-season.