Early reports suggest that Vancouver Canucks ticket prices will continue to decline in both price and demand. But this time around, the Canucks need their fans to be more loyal than ever.
Vancouver Canucks fans have longed for a rebuild for quite some time, and their voices were heard by team president Trevor Linden and general manager Jim Benning.
In April, Linden told fans that the team was “rebuilding”, and Benning acted upon it, in some ways. Yes, he did choose to sign veterans like Sam Gagner, Thomas Vanek, Michael Del Zotto and Anders Nilsson. Rebuilding teams usually stay quiet in free agency, but the Canucks are still listening to what we all wanted.
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Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen made the team. Benning didn’t hand out another Loui Eriksson-esque contract in free agency, opting to buy from the bargain shopping bin instead.
So with the Canucks rebuilding and finally injecting some young players into their lineup, fans received their wishes. Now, it’s time for the fan base to once again offer its love and support for the team.
That’s because a Global News report by Matt Lee suggests that fan support won’t be so strong in 2018. Kingsley Bailey from Vancouver Ticket and Tour Service talked to Global about Canucks tickets not being so high in demand and prices this season:
"“When they were the only game in town and very monopolistic, they didn’t care. But now they do care about their fans, and it’s a little too late because they lost a lot of fans that aren’t coming back. “The hardest fan to get back is the one that’s walked away; they had enough.”"
Attendance figures from ESPN also show how much the Canucks have struggled to draw the crowd that once formed a 474 game sellout steak. Below is a year-by-year breakdown of how many fans the Canucks have averaged per game, and where they ranked among all NHL teams:
2016-17: 18,509 (11th)
2015-16: 18,431 (14th)
2014-15: 18,710 (10th)
2013-14: 19,770 (fifth)
2012-13: 18,947 (10th)
So attendance has been up-and-down throughout the years, and there are already indications that fan support won’t be so high in 2017-18.
But the Canucks simply need the fans who have left to come back. This team is finally rebuilding, and they rely on your support during the most difficult of times. The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs kept selling out home games despite outrageous ticket prices while they were non-competitive teams.
It was also noted by CBC’s Michelle Ghoussoub that team merchandise and tickets were reaching the lowest of lows. This isn’t good for a team that once had one of the greatest fan bases and attendance records in North American sports.
And we’ve seen how this has influenced the front office. The Canucks saw ticket and jersey sales going down, which made them try a “rebuilding on the fly” approach, feeling the pressure to stay competitive and enhance fan interest.
So Canucks fans, embrace the rebuild. If you’ve stopped going to games, start going again. If you’ve stopped watching on television, start tuning in again. This team cares about the fans more than you think, and it’s time to be loyal again.
Let’s make those attendance figures go back up. Let’s do the right thing and support the Vancouver Canucks during the good and the bad times.