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Premier Christy Clark and B.C. Legislative Speaker of the House Bill Barisoff show team support and celebration as they raise the Vancouver Canucks flag before the start of the Stanley Cup Final Tuesday May 31, 2011 in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito For The Globe And Mail/Chad Hipolito For The Globe And Mail)
Premier Christy Clark and B.C. Legislative Speaker of the House Bill Barisoff show team support and celebration as they raise the Vancouver Canucks flag before the start of the Stanley Cup Final Tuesday May 31, 2011 in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito For The Globe And Mail/Chad Hipolito For The Globe And Mail)

B.C. Premier lands free tickets to Game 7 Add to ...

Local ticket brokers say hordes of disenchanted Canucks fans are unloading their tickets for Wednesday night's Game 7 showdown, causing prices - though still at record, sky-high levels - to drop by as much as 20 per cent.

But one Stanley Cup fan who will not have to worry about the price of a ticket is Premier Christy Clark. Ms. Clark will be at the game with son Hamish, courtesy of the Vancouver Canucks, who offered her a pair of tickets.

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Shane Mills, communications director for the premier's office, said Ms. Clark's decision to accept the offer was cleared by conflict-of-interest commissioner Paul Fraser, who deemed it appropriate for her role as leader of the province.

"She filed a disclosure statement. She followed all the rules and obligations under the act," Mr. Mills said late Tuesday.

However, the Premier's position to accept free admission contrasts with those of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who paid face value for two Game 5 tickets he received from the Canucks, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who also paid for tickets to a Stanley Cup contest in Boston.

The top, face value price for a Stanley Cup final ticket at Rogers Arena is $931.

A spokeswoman for NDP Leader Adrian Dix, who was not offered tickets, said Mr. Dix would be watching the game "with fans," somewhere in Vancouver.

Ms. Clark has been a high-profile booster of the Canucks at numerous public events, prompting critics to suggest she is riding their bandwagon for political advantage.

The Premier said Tuesday she just wants to promote a cause all British Columbians can rally around.

But Ms. Clark, after forecasting a four-game sweep for the Canucks and then a 3-2 victory in Game 6, has stopped making predictions.

"I've been wrong in every case, so far," she told reporters at an unrelated news conference.

The same uncertainty over the Canucks is also taking a toll on many of the club's faithful ticketholders.

Vancouver ticket broker Mario Livich of ShowTime Tickets says his business is being swamped by fans wanting to sell their prized tickets for Wednesday's deciding game, opting for the certainty of cash over the potential heartbreak of seeing the Canucks lose yet again.

"These are people who don't believe the Canucks are going to win the game, and then they'll feel like dummies for not selling their tickets and making a lot of money," Mr. Livich said.

"If people believe, they'll pay anything. But the way the Canucks bungled into Game 7 [with a gruesome 5-2 loss]has really affected the market."

The move to sell began soon after the Boston game ended. Prices quickly dropped about 20 per cent, according to Mr. Livich, with the average price of an upper bowl ticket, for instance, dropping from about $2,400 to $1,900.

Still, ticket brokers are hardly complaining. Despite the dip, unofficial ticket prices for this hard-fought Stanley Cup, with the Canucks on the verge of ending their 40-year record of futility, have never been higher.

"Business is fabulous. We're run off our feet," Mr. Livich said. "We are getting record prices. It's just that the market price has gone down."

On ShowTime's website Tuesday, top-priced tickets were being offered for more than $6,000 each.

Online brokers reported similar record prices.

StubHub, a subsidiary of eBay, said they had about 250 tickets left for Game 7, starting around $2,500.

Spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer told The Canadian Press that prices for this year's Stanley Cup are the highest in the company's 10-year history with fans paying, on average, four times more for a ticket to Wednesday night, than they paid for Game 7 of the 2009 Pittsburgh-Detroit series.

Meanwhile, fans are advised to be careful when exchanging huge wads of cash for tickets.

Coquitlam RCMP reported Tuesday that a man responding to a Craigslist offer of two tickets for $4,400 was robbed at gunpoint, when he entered a vehicle to make the trade.

The B.C. Members' Conflict of Interest Act can be read here.





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