Why is attendance at this year’s World Junior championship so pathetic you ask? Simple. It’s called greed.
When the goal is to gouge and make money so that participating nations like Canada and the U.S.A. can hire bloated staffs of hockey groupies posing as executives -they’re easy to identify, just look for the fancy blazers, team jackets or the cool neck rope “get in free” passes – every day hockey fans will eventually catch on.
The fact that temperatures are hovering around 2,000 below zero all week doesn’t help, but this trend towards empty seats began last year when both Montreal and Toronto fans told tournament organizers to take their outlandish ticket prices and stuff it.
It’s the same junior hockey greed that has been on display for years in Canada during Memorial Cup week, when a once long-term march to a national championship, complete with a month of 7-game playoff showdowns across the country, has been reduced to a one-week round-robin event culminating in a single-game-prove-nothing-championship. All designed to allow league boss Dave Branch and his corporate-sponsor-buddies to party and schmooze together while making mega-bucks on the backs of teenagers playing for slave labour wages.
The ultimate litmus test to this new screw-you attitude from fans will happen a year from now when the tandem of Vancouver and Victoria take a turn at hosting. If the ho-hum trend continues outside of Canada’s major all-events-all-the-time Eastern cities, organizers may have to cut back on ticket prices, and entourage sizes.