Making a night out at a hockey game affordable is what the Penticton Vees have set out to do this upcoming season by introducing a special 30-day ticket campaign.
“I want to take that passion from the town for our team and turn this building on our game nights into the No. 1 entertainment choice throughout the year. That is where we start today,” said Vees coach/GM/president Fred Harbinson.
At a press conference on Thursday, Harbinson told a rambunctious group of season ticket holders that the Vees have reduced the price of season tickets significantly and that they will be working more closely with Penticton Minor Hockey Association. Harbinson said there is no doubt people in Penticton love their team, especially one that’s only lost 20 games at home since they have been in the SOEC.
“At the same time we need to find ways to bring in the next group of people, maybe even the non-hockey fans. We dropped the ball a little bit on the business side but we are going to take a more active approach on promotions and try to find ways to work together with Global Spectrum on different nights to make it even more cost-effective maybe at the concession or different things to attract the non-hockey fans,” said Harbinson.
The team is introducing three pricing levels, with fans having the option to buy a $149, $169 or a $199 package for the upcoming season. Child (12 and under) and student (13 to 18) packages are available for $129. The three pricing levels are based on designated sections in the South Okanagan Events Centre. As well, the Vees are launching a minor hockey program for those registered with the Penticton Minor Hockey Association. All PMHA registered players will receive a free season’s pass if their parents buy one of three season ticket packages. The ticket incentive will run from July 15 to Aug. 15, and after that ticket pricing will go back to the regular levels for the season. Those who have already bought season tickets will be refunded their money, can use it as credit towards playoffs or towards the following season’s tickets.
A payment plan was also laid out in which a 25 per cent deposit is required upon submitting your season ticket application. Fans will have the option to pay the balance over three equal payments. That offer is only in effect during the 30-day sale.
Harbinson said after signing a one-year lease with the SOEC was his first task as president of the hockey club, and his next was to ensure going to the games is an affordable option for everyone. He said it is critical to get kids back into the SOEC watching the games.
Last season, the club only sold nine child season passes, and in five years they probably sold 50, Harbonson said. He hopes the moves they are making with the sale will change that. The Vees have proven to draw big crowds in the past, andHarbinson said he just would like to see that on a more regular basis.
“Junior hockey is about the kids. Its not about corporations or big dollars…. We think this will be a success. We want to give back to the community, give back to minor hockey and we think this is a great way to do it,” he said.
On top of the ticket announcement, Harbinson said the Vees want to do a better job of tying the club to minor hockey in the community.
After talks with Penticton Minor Hockey Association president Bruce Judd, the Vees coaching staff and players also agreed to assist teams at their practices.
“When we talk to NHL scouts and NHL agents they talk about how they think we have got a really good development model and it is crazy for our minor hockey not to draw into that. I think it is important for us to be out there and our players to be out there and attract those young kids and maybe it will give them more energy to want to be a player. They are also the next generation of Vees fans too,” said Harbison.
“It is also about growing the opportunities for minor hockey players with our team, with other teams and give them opportunities to be the best player they can be.”
The Vees also unveiled their new slogan for the season: Whatever It Takes.