Parents furious over NHL All-Star Game ticket policy change

Greg Wyshynski
Parents furious over NHL All-Star Game ticket policy change

Lauren Brodt is raising a young sports fan.

She estimates she’s taken her daughter, Reagan, to at least 20 sporting events since she was born in December 2013. She’ll take her seat, and then her daughter will take her seat on her mother’s lap, as she did for a Pittsburgh Penguins game last week.

Before purchasing tickets to games, Brodt investigates a venue’s ticket policy for infants. Most require  children over the age of two to have their own tickets, but not for infants. 

Brodt's sister is a season-ticket holder for the Blue Jackets and purchased tickets through the team for the NHL All-Star Game at Columbus' Nationwide Arena. Brodt wanted to join her for the game, and went through StubHub to purchase tickets for herself and her 3-and-half-year-old; she checked the arena policy, and it said her 1-year-old daughter didn't require one. 

Here’s the policy, as published on the arena’s website and emailed to season-ticket holders that purchased All-Star Game tickets last August.

Brodt wasn’t the only one who consulted that info before buying All-Star Game tickets.

Ariel Pfleiderer has a 9-month-old daughter, a ticket to the All-Star Game and a lap, from which her daughter has watched many Washington Capitals games.

“We asked about bringing her [to the All-Star Game], and were told it was the venue/Blue Jackets policy and that she was allowed,” she said.

Well, both children are technically “allowed” at the All-Star Game.

It’s just that they need their own tickets. Which is sort of a problem when this policy was only presented to Brodt, Pfleiderer and other ticket-holding parents in an email this week, and there are no tickets remaining for All-Star Weekend. 

Here’s part of the email sent to the ticket holders this week:

 

As you can see, it’s a flat-out policy flip-flop on infants, much to the shock of Brodt and Pfeiderer.

“I don't have many options. If when I called this morning, they would have said, ‘You need a ticket, I can help you buy a ticket right now and offer you some vouchers for food, tickets, whatever that are the value of the ticket,’ I would have been happy,” said Brodt. “Instead, she suggested I go back to StubHub, where I got my original tickets.”

The only alternatives are leaving the baby with a sitter, or purchasing a ticket from the secondary market that (a) would simply be an empty seat in the arena, (b) would be purchased at a significant mark-up and (c) shouldn't need to be purchase in the first place.

What does Pfleiderer intend to do?

“We plan on bringing her and seeing if we can get into the arena on the day of [the event] if this is not resolved prior to,” she said.

“We will most likely video tape our entrance into the arena for the skills competition. We'll have to deal with it there. It seems like this won't be resolved several states away.”

Hopefully the NHL and Nationwide Arena reverse this inexplicable policy change.

It is, after all, a family friendly event. 

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