Long-time season ticket holders feeling the squeeze as QMJHL tickets will be more scarce
SYDNEY, N.S. -- With major junior hockey about to drop the puck on another season in two weeks, some long-time season ticket holders are being shut out.
Brent Desveaux has been a season ticket holder with the Cape Breton Eagles for 17 years.
He has spent more than $11,000 on tickets, but this year there's no guarantee he will have a seat.
"That's my form of entertainment," Desveaux says. "That's what I do. I go to work and then come home and watch hockey. For me it would be very depressing, I guess."
Inside Centre 200, it will look much different this year.
There are zones and bubbles fans will have to stay in, which makes it very difficult to accommodate a single season seat.
President Gerard Shaw says putting a plan together has been a nightmare.
"Last year, we were having the conversation asking people to come to our building, come and see our product," Shaw says. "And this year, I'm telling people 'I might not have a seat for you.' So, I get their frustration."
Shaw says his goal is to get as many fans in the building as possible, but physical distancing is complicating that plan.
"We are trying to devise a plan that gets the maximum people in the building, including those people with single seats and double seats," Shaw said. "But we really have to maximize the seating capacity of the building in order to cut our losses to at least a minimal."
For people who come to the games at Centre 200, it's as much for hockey as it is for the social aspect, something COVID-19 has also taken away. Shaw says, so far, 900 tickets have been sold.
"We need to figure out a way to get hockey back, try to make this work," Shaw said. "And if we're all comfortable with it, and Dr. Strang is comfortable with it, maybe we can open up a little more as the season goes on."
For Desveaux, he says he's hoping to form his own bubble family, so he can once again enjoy the game he loves.
"Bottom line is get yourself in a bubble," Desveaux said. "Groups of five, 10, or 20, and there's a better chance you will get in."
The Eagles' final two exhibition games will be open to the public, providing a first look at what major junior hockey will look like for fans in the middle of a pandemic.
The regular season starts Friday, Oct. 2.