The Memorial Cup has been a hot ticket in Halifax.
Attendance at the national junior hockey championships has been strong, even for games that didn’t feature the hometown Halifax Mooseheads.
Before the tournament even started, the Scotiabank Centre reported the final game was sold out, long before fans knew who would be contending for the top prize.
The Mooseheads have earned a bye into the finals, while the Guelph Storm and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies will battle in the semifinals Friday night and was announced as a sold out prior to the final round-robin game.
Hockey fans who want to be inside the rink for the final games are now having to scramble to find resale tickets online for the chance to see it in person.
Buying resale, though, comes with risks as it’s often buyer beware when buying tickets for any event online and from a third party seller.
As one hockey fan can attest, he thought he was going to the final game after buying tickets online, only to realize he was a victim of a ticket scam.
Nic Stewart reached out to a ticket seller online who he thought was legit.
“He (the seller) said he had the tickets for sale because he and his girlfriend had just broken up and he just couldn’t go anymore and so he just wanted to get the tickets off his hands,” said Stewart.
Earlier in the week, Stewart said he and a friend had won some free tickets from Memorial Cup title sponsor KIA for the round-robin game between Rouyn-Noranda and Prince Albert.
From there, he was caught up in the Memorial Cup mania and wanted to get seats to see the Mooseheads play in the final but the game was long sold out and so he went online.
There he found a pair of seats for a good price right around the ticket value and he spoke with the seller over the phone. The seller was using a fake identity and was also texting back and forth when they agreed that Stewart would send half the money up front and tickets would be emailed.
“We just talked a little about the games and everything,” said Stweart. “It seemed just like a friend I was talking to but it wasn’t really a friend I was talking to.”
Stewart was hesitant to send money blindly through email but the seller made an elaborate excuse that work had him in Truro, N.S. but assured he’d email the tickets and so he sent $70 through an email transfer and communication between the two went dead.
“I was waiting for a while and maybe an hour passed and I tried calling the guy and he had blocked my number.”
The next day, Stewart phoned Halifax police and reported the incident and posted the story on a Halifax hockey Facebook page so nobody else would get scammed.
Lower bowl tickets for the final were going for $81.50 at the box office prior to the tournament and now tickets being re-sold online, which is legal, and are being marked up by hundreds of dollars.
“It’s unfortunate we don’t have a little bigger building for this game but the tickets are in high demand and we feel very confident they people that are in here are going to enjoy the game,” said Mooseheads president Brian Urquhart.
Events East manage the Scotiabank Centre and says it’s buyer beware when it comes to purchasing tickets from third-party vendors and say think twice before sending money over the internet.
“One of the things we are always urging fans is to make sure they are buying tickets through an authorized ticket dealer,” said Erin Esiyok-Prime, the director of marketing and communications at Events East.
Stewart’s out some money but he’s learned a lesson.
“I feel kind of silly doing it, but he seemed like such a genuine guy,” he said. “I never thought it would happen to me here in Halifax for a Mooseheads game.”
As for the hockey game, Stewart says he might watch from the fan zone outside the rink, where no tickets are needed.