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4,170 fans snap up pre-sale NHL season tickets

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WINNIPEG -  Fear not, hockey fans of Winnipeg -- there will still be seats available to watch Byfuglien and Wheeler, Crosby and Ovechkin when NHL tickets go on sale to the general public at noon on Saturday.

True North Sports and Entertainment announced Thursday afternoon their ‘Drive to 13,000’ season-ticket campaign had hit the 4,170 mark as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, with five of eight presale groups activated.

The first wave of sales is open only to Manitoba Moose season-ticket and mini-pack holders as well as corporate advertising partners. That pre-sale that closes Friday at 10 p.m.

Fans are being asked to put down a full-season deposit of $500 to $1,000 -- depending on which of the seven price points is selected -- and for commitments of three, four and five years.

But that pre-sale has also prompted concerns from Joe and Jill Fan who were worried there would be nothing left for them by Saturday.

If every Moose season-ticket holder purchased their four NHL season tickets, about 4,000 tickets would remain.  But True North Sports and Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ludlow believes that number will be more like 6,000 to 7,000.

"It’s not 2,000, but it’s a theoretical question. There will be inventory left for sure," Ludlow said Thursday.

"I compare it to the concert world. There are only so many seats for Elton John and there are only so many seats for NHL hockey. Again, when Elton John goes on sale and you want to get to the show you’re usually on your computer at noon."

Tickets can only be ordered online at Ludlow said hockey fans should get familiar with the website and the various ticket/price options in advance and be ready to sign up the second the online window opens.

"The notion of a pre-sale is common and we typically get to an on-sale with lots of inventory, depending on the quality and drawing power of the entertainer," Ludlow explained. "We do get situations where the inventory will go very quickly at the moment of the on-sale. In this case the entertainer is the NHL and the buzz is very strong.

"It’s the same thing for U2 being on sale. Don’t wait until Sunday."

Meanwhile, those who snap up season tickets to Winnipeg’s new NHL team this week could find themselves sitting next to a famous neighbour.  Director and passionate hockey fan Kevin Smith may be in the market for a seat.

The director, who usually swears his allegiance to his home state’s New Jersey Devils, announced his desire to buy season tickets for Winnipeg’s new NHL team on his Thursday podcast, Jay and Silent Bob Get Jobs.

The director, famed for films including Clerks and Dogma, noted that season tickets "weren’t cheap," fans who heard the podcast reported.

True North Sports and Entertainment spokesman Scott Brown said a reporter’s call was the first he’d heard that the directing celeb might be interested in chipping in for the drive to rack up 13,000 season tickets by June 21.

With files from Melissa Martin


Updated on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 4:53 PM CDT: Updates ticket sales figure.

5:42 PM: Clarifies ticket figure.

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