NEWS

Ottawa Senators limit playoff ticket sales for out-of-town fans

04/13/2015 01:48 EDT | Updated 06/19/2015 06:59 EDT
Tickets went on sale this morning in Ottawa for Round 1 of the playoffs and quickly sold out.

But there may not be as many Montrealers in the stands for Game 3 as you may think, considering they're such close NHL neighbours.

That's because the Senators have a ticket sales policy that prioritizes local fans.

Fans who logged on to by Round 1 tickets this morning saw the following message:

"To better serve local Ottawa Senators fans, priority for Round 1 home playoff tickets will be given to residents within the National Capital Region, Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Residency will be based on credit card billing address. The Ottawa Senators reserve the right, upon notice, to cancel and refund orders from residents outside the designated area."

The Tampa Bay Lightning has used a similar policy in the past. 

Tickets for the Montreal games, which went on sale last week, had no such restriction. A spokesperson for the Habs told CBC that they do not have a residency-based priority policy and never have. 

Andrew Berkshire, a blogger for fan website habseyesontheprize.com, said if the aim is to limit the number of Habs fans flooding the Canadian Tire Centre, the policy won't likely do much.

"There are a ton of Habs fans in the Ottawa-area, especially after the Senators missed the playoffs two out of the last four years," he said. 

"I don't understand why the Senators believe they can limit ticket sales to their own fans. It's the kind of insecurity that everyone makes fun of that franchise for — they're so afraid of being booed in their own building that they do stuff like that and it's kind of the thing you would never expect a Canadian franchise to do." 

He pointed out that there are also many Sens fans who live outside the Ottawa-area who could be denied entry because of the policy.

'Commonplace' in pro sports

The Senators say the practice of limiting ticket to local fans is becoming more common in professional sports. 

"Our goal is to give our own local fans the best opportunity to be here, live, at Canadian Tire Centre to experience Senators playoff hockey," a statement from the team issued this morning reads. 

"The response to our organization from our fans has been overwhelmingly positive and the interest in tickets has been at an all-time high."

Round 1 schedule:

- Game 1: April 15 - 7 p.m. ET Ottawa at Montreal

- Game 2: April 17 - 7 p.m.ET Ottawa at Montreal 

- Game 3:  April 19 - 7 p.m. ET Montreal at Ottawa

- Game 4: April 22 - 7 p.m. ET Montreal at Ottawa

- Game 5: April 24 - TBD - Ottawa at Montreal

- Game 6: April 26 - TBD - Montreal at Ottawa

- Game 7: April 28 - TBD - Ottawa at Montreal

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