The Halifax Mooseheads say there are several reasons behind a bump in season ticket sales, including ticket holders getting the first crack at tickets for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship.
“It was a nice carrot, so to speak, to try and bring them back,” said Mooseheads president Brian Urquhart.
Urquhart declined to provide a specific season ticket number, but said it’s higher than the team’s annual average of 3,500.
“What we’ve gone through with the pandemic and being in the mass-gathering business, our base has taken a significant hit,” he said.
The pandemic cancelled the 2019-20 season, while the Mooseheads were ineligible for the 2020-21 playoffs because of travel restrictions. Gathering restrictions were in place for much of the 2021-22 season.
Urquhart said other factors behind the increase in season ticket sales were the removal of COVID-19 restrictions in Nova Scotia and an improved Mooseheads squad.
The team received an honourable mention in the first edition of the CHL’s top-10 rankings for the season. The Mooseheads sit atop the Maritimes Division after a 3-0-1 start.
According to Hockey Canada, more than 4,000 Mooseheads’ season ticket holders purchased tickets for the World Juniors, which begin Dec. 26.
The event is being co-hosted by Halifax and Moncton, N.B. More than 1,000 Moncton Wildcats season ticket holders also purchased tickets for the event.
“We typically see around 20 per cent of season ticket holders for a local team in the host community purchase tickets for a World Junior Championship, and both communities exceeded that historic comparative,” Dean McIntosh, the vice-president of events and properties with Hockey Canada, said in a statement.
Hockey Canada, the sport’s national governing body, is under pressure to make leadership changes amid its handling of sexual assault allegations. It plays a major role in organizing the World Juniors.
On Thursday, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said in a statement that “we need to see some meaningful changes that respect the concerns of Nova Scotians and Canadians.”
On Friday, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage issued a joint statement with Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold. They said they were looking for “meaningful changes within Hockey Canada prior to the World Junior Championship taking place in our cities.”
The statements did not list any specific changes they’d like to see made.