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Lockout effect: AHL Marlies a hot ticket in Toronto

Sep 27, 2012, 11:20 AM EDT

Nazem Kadri Getty Images

Until recently, the Toronto Marlies had been a failure as a business operation.

This was always somewhat surprising, as one might think the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, playing within minutes of the perpetually sold out Air Canada Centre, would garner fan interest. But it didn’t, and after arriving in 2004, the Marlies consistently languished in the bottom half of the AHL in terms of attendance.

Things didn’t really improve until last spring. With the Leafs out of the NHL playoffs once again, the Marlies went on a run all the way to the Calder Cup finals and average attendance at the 7,800-seat Ricoh Coliseum rose to nearly 7,000, the third highest in the league.

Now the Marlies have another thing going for them – the NHL lockout.

According to the Globe and Mail, season-ticket sales are up 74 percent while single-game tickets are being snapped up as well.

“I love that,” head coach Dallas Eakins told the newspaper. “I love telling people you can’t just walk up to our building like two or three years ago, and grab a ticket on game night. That’s not happening. You might want to call in for the end of October. Because we’re starting to sell out.”

The Marlies aren’t the only AHL franchise that stands to win during the lockout, however long that may last. Other teams in NHL markets include the Chicago Wolves and Abbotsford Heat (Vancouver). In a somewhat odd twist, the Wolves are the affiliate of the Blackhawks’ heated rival, the Canucks, and the Heat is the affiliate of one of the Canucks’ traditional rivals, the Calgary Flames.

  1. nyrangersfan - Sep 27, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    That’s nice, now that fans are starting to acknowledge the team and attendance has grown, why not bump up ticket prices? When the lockout ends and their attendance plummets once again it’ll be even worse than before. But at least they’re able to take advantage of the fans while it lasts right? Greedy sons a b*tches!

    • tatdue - Sep 28, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      Where the hell did you read that ticket prices are going up….Maybe you should read an article before commenting…..This article only talks about the number of tickets being sold going up not the price…..

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