If the public must pay for NHL rinks, they should get tickets for free


National Post, 23 May 2017

Herewith then a proposal for the city of Calgary, my hometown. If a new hockey arena, paid for by public funds and owners’ “donations,” is really a public works project, let it be for the public. Stipulate that a certain number of tickets per event — let’s say a thousand, or even 500, including some of the good seats — are the city’s to distribute for free.


Cinderella is off to the ball, or to the big hoe-down, as it were. The Predators, who just scraped into the playoffs, are the fairytale team of 2017, making the Stanley Cup final for the first time. Nashville has become a hockey-mad city.

Just the other day, on the local morning news, there was a special segment on how the Stanley Cup playoffs work, complete with explanatory props. It turns out that four best-of-seven series is exactly how it works in basketball too, but one can never be too careful when informing the public about one’s new enthusiasms.

Country music stars are singing the national anthem. Fans are massing to greet players at the airport. The arena downtown is hopping. It’s the feel-good story of the playoffs.

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