Resurgent fan interest in Vancouver's NHL team

Can Canucks turn it around?

Ticket brokers in the Vancouver Canucks market have been watching business fall to “an all-time low the past few years” as the National Hockey League team stumbled during subpar seasons, missed the playoffs and shed much of its aging core, according to Kingsley Bailey.

“But there’s so much interest right now for this team. I’ve never seen this market so excited about hockey, probably since 2010,” says the owner of Vancouver Ticket & Tour Service Ltd.

And the Vancouver Canucks’ roster of young talent featuring Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser seems to be reigniting local interest in time for the team’s Oct. 9 home opener.

“There is definitely that much more demand for certain games,” Bailey said. “But for the majority of games you’re still going to get in for under $75. That’s not bad.”

The team still isn’t back to the halcyon days of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

Season ticket sales have declined from a capped amount of 17,000 in that season (with 6,000 more on the waiting list) by 5% in 2014, 10% in 2015, 15% in 2017 and 10% last summer.

Overall attendance also slid from 100.3% capacity in 2010-11 to 97.5% in 2015-16 and to 95.3% last year.

The Canucks dropped from ranking eighth among NHL teams in attendance to the 14th-to-16th range in the last two years. But Canucks Sports and Entertainment Group chief operating officer Trent Carroll said the team is projecting growth for the current season.

Season ticket membership renewals have been reaching levels not seen in six to seven years, the COO said.

“Our on-sale singles [tickets] this year was back to the heyday when we got such a solid response from people who were picking out the games that they wanted to come to. And we’ve sold more mini-packs [multiple-game bundles] this year than we sold all of last year.”

Carroll added that fans attending games at Rogers Arena should expect new projectors, lighting and a multimedia introduction.

“The visual look of coming to a game is going to change,” he said, adding the team will also be unveiling a few surprises for fans when the home opener arrives.

Meanwhile, Carroll said sales data shows a fair amount of interest in the four new jerseys unveiled in June: the updated orca for home and road games, a throwback featuring the old hockey stick logo and another throwback featuring the flying hockey skate logo.

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