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Hockey fans strategizing to win seats Add to ...

Alan Norton has a list of events he wants to attend at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. At the top of it: the men's gold-medal hockey game.

And yesterday's announcement that only 30 per cent of the 17,000 seats in GM Place will be available to average Canadians - the rest will go to the "Olympic Family" of committees, sponsors and media - has the 61-year-old Burlington resident stressing out over how much he'll have to cough up should he not luck out in the lottery.

"I'd probably pay about $1,000 [a ticket]" he finally sighs after hemming and hawing over price.

As Oct. 3, the first day of ticket sales, approaches, scalpers and hockey fans are plotting their seat-scoring strategy for that coveted game, many by corralling their friends to buy tickets en masse and sell them on eBay or Craigslist.

Steve Neill, owner of One Stop Ticket Shop in Vancouver, says he's already had requests for tickets.

"For the hockey game, it'll be about two or three grand," he says.

Maurice Cardinal, business analyst and author of Leverage Olympic Momentum, thinks the price could range from $3,000 to $10,000.

Ouch. And since there's no line to hop in a lottery, fans should just schmooze and suck up to members of the elite "Olympic Family," he says.

If your neighbour works for Coca-Cola, start offering to cut the grass, stat. Or if Joe down the street has an in with your local MP, start chatting him up, too.

The big guns at major sponsor companies always get first crack at tickets, he says. Then they'll spread them around, often to business associates at other companies.

The tickets can trickle down further and land in the laps of local suppliers, he says. Just find out who is providing the food, hauling the porta-potties or installing the wiring for the computer systems at the Olympics, and become their very best friends.

Mr. Norton is waiting until he lands a place to stay in Vancouver before he considers laying down $10,000 for a hockey ticket. But he has one promising trick up his sleeve.

"I have a season's pass for the Toronto Maple Leafs. There are people who ... would still be willing to negotiate and maybe [trade]to see a game against Montreal or Pittsburgh."

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