Why aren't Sens fans going to the games?
They’re the last remaining Canadian team in the NHL playoffs, but the Ottawa Senators still couldn’t sell out their arena Tuesday night.
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There were slightly more than 100 empty seats in Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre as the Sens fought their way back to win 2-1 over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final.
“It’s certainly alarming,” said TSN Radio's Ian Mendes, co-host of The Drive. “I think when you don’t sell out home playoff games in Canada that sort of feels sacrilegious.”
Fans say they are no less enthusiastic about their hockey team, but cite the commute and ticket prices as reasons behind not attending playoff games.
The low sales even got the team’s President asking fans to buy tickets.
Tmrw 8pm, biggest game of the year, lots of tix, let's fill the place, the guys need us more than ever, we're all in this together! #GoSens— Tom Anselmi (@TomAnselmi) May 22, 2017
But according to some fans, the long commute is just one reason behind the empty seats.
The Senator’s Canadian Tire Centre isn’t located in the downtown core but rather a 45-minute to hour-long drive into the suburbs.
“It’s a major issue, driving out there,” said one fan. “Not only driving out there but getting stuck in traffic, having to pay to park and then getting stuck in traffic leaving as well.”
Other fans mentioned the high price of admission.
“#Sens fans aren’t fat cats in suits sitting in box seats. They’re normal people with kids and jobs and lives and budgets,” tweeted one angry fan.
#Sens fans aren't fat cats in suits sitting in box seats. They're normal people with kids and jobs and lives and budgets.— Shannon M (@zchamu) May 23, 2017
The Senators have one of the smallest season ticket holder fan bases in the NHL, which means to sell out a game they need to sell nearly 10,000 additional tickets per game.
On top of that, some Ottawa companies can’t hand out free tickets to clients as it’s a violation of federal government ethics rules.
Sens player Clarke MacArthur defended the fans, saying those in the arena gave him a huge amount of support Tuesday night.
“The crowd was going crazy. It’ll be something I’ll be thinking about on my deathbed, that’s for sure. It’ll be a memory that will go that long,” MacArthur said.
The Sens play the Penguins tomorrow night in Pittsburgh. If they win they will be in the Stanley Cup finals.
With a report by CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson in Ottawa