Fans of the Calgary Flames best be feeling lucky to net tickets for home playoff dates.
The NHL team yesterday announced a lottery system -- online and at area Co-op and Sport Chek stores -- to fill the 1,300 seats available per game in the post-season's opening round.
Rollie Cyr, the Flames vice-president of ticket sales, calls the process the fairest possible way to distribute the remaining ducats in the 19,289-seat Saddledome.
"We started off selling them in 2004 at our windows and felt there were deficiencies there -- not everybody can camp out and there are risks if you have young kids," Cyr said.
"And an area where a web-access process wasn't perfect was those who could access the web at exactly the right time had a superior opportunity, and so if you were working at that time, you might not be able to access it."
Flames officials said about 18,000 tickets per first-round game are already claimed, mostly because season-ticket holders and those who bought seats through the game-packs promotion got first dibs.
Of those remaining, 600 will be sold for each date to eligible fans registered at www.calgaryflames.com for a draw made the day prior to each game.
Once a valid e-mail address is submitted, it's entered into the draw for every playoff tilt. Flames and Hitmen season ticket holders and game-pack purchasers are automatically registered.
"It would've been very punitive of us to restrict them from a free draw because they're season-ticket holders," Cyr said.
As well, previous draw winners will remain eligible to win the opportunity to purchase tickets to future games.
Online tickets range from $35 to $180, although Cyr confirmed 80% of the seats are in the upper and lower bowls.
Starting tomorrow, patrons of area Sport Chek and Co-op locations can put their names in for a draw.
Sport Chek is offering 500 in the cheap seats, valued at $35 each, while Co-op has 200 in the upper bowl for about $50 apiece.
Christopher Popoff, who is not a season ticket holder, said the lottery is fair.
"The Flames franchise should use this chance to reward season ticket holders for being faithful and basically leave the scraps to the rest of the fans," Popoff said.