Avs, Leafs battle over sellout record

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

The Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche no longer scrap in the same neighbourhood, but they're in some disagreement over which has the better house.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. officials were surprised to hear that the Avs were claiming the longest streak of sellouts in major league sports -- 487 games -- which ended Monday night when the announced crowd of 17,681 at the Pepsi Center fell 326 shy of a sellout against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Denver's boast would put the Leafs' reputation as the National Hockey League's toughest ticket at risk.

At one time, the Leafs were boasting that every game at Maple Leaf Gardens since World War II had sold out and certainly their seven years at the Air Canada Centre had not seen many empty seats.

Tom Anselmi, the executive vice-president and COO of MLSEL, looked into the matter yesterday.

"I don't think I can dispute what the Avs are saying, but there are some factors to consider," Anselmi said. "Our announced seating capacity is 18,819 and we sell every one, plus standing room, a few obstructed seats and extra tickets to suites, to a maximum of 16. That's why we announce around 19,300 every game and we've been at 104% capacity.

"But since we opened the ACC, there was two or three games that might have been glitches. One, I think, was a game on Halloween and the others in the early days of the building when we didn't have an accurate method of counting the crowd."

Colorado's claim of 487 stretches back to the team's arrival from Quebec City in 1995, when the club played at the smaller McNichols Sports Arena.

Paul Andrews, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Kroenke Sports, told the Denver Post this summer that the streak was on the level, despite observations of a few empty seats through the years.

"We're certainly not going to hide anything from anyone," Andrews said. "This is an honest organization, top to bottom. If (the streak ends) we'd admit it, and start working on getting another sellout streak started the next game."


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