Who says it’s tough to get Winnipeg Jets tickets?
A few clicks of the mouse late Friday afternoon revealed hundreds still available, as good as right behind the visitors bench and as cheap as $17.
Of course, you’ll have to fly to Phoenix, as the new Winnipeg Jets take on the old Winnipeg Jets, Saturday night.
Double the fun, you might say — for half the money.
It’s the Phoenix Coyotes home opener, and, yes, great seats are still available, either through the online “brokers”, where the best one might go for $65, or through the Coyotes official website, where they’ll try to soak you to the tune of $205 for that seat behind the ’Yotes bench, $245 for one against the glass.
Hard to tell who’s the scalper in this one.
It’s also hard to tell what this game will mean in the grand scheme of things.
Two teams with plenty of history, some of it shared, but no history against each other.
The last time a team from Winnipeg faced one from Phoenix, the southern one was called the Roadrunners, and neither were in the NHL.
If you think that sounds bush league, it’s not much deeper into the tangle than the current situation, in which the NHL itself continues to own the Coyotes, while a handful of politicians in Glendale stick taxpayers with the financial feces.
It’s an arrangement the league waded into out of desperation, and for one season, only, we were told. One became two, after which Coyotes brass said enough was enough.
I can still see head coach Dave Tippett figuratively throwing up his hands after his rudderless team was swept from the playoffs by Detroit last April.
“There has to be some kind of solution,” Tippett said that day. “Everybody sees that. Gary Bettman sees that. (GM) Don Maloney sees that. We need some kind of direction, here.”
Nearly six months later, and Season 3 of this bad soap opera is well into production.
One of the stars, Winnipeg-bashing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, got tired of the script and bolted for Philly, where there’s an actual owner with an actual wallet in an actual pocket.
In Phoenix, the NHL sets the budget, Glendale’s $20-million limit its guiding principle. At the same time, the league works potential buyers like a call-girl working the street.
The Coyotes are hockey’s southern siren, would-be owners coming and going in the desert night, but nobody sticking around for any kind of commitment.
Or maybe a peepshow would be a more appropriate description for this franchise — worth a quick look, but unable to attract any real money.
Kind of like a typical Coyotes home game.
The mood at the Jobing.com Arena, Saturday, should be an interesting mix of Phoenix fans eager to heap derision on the Jets, and by extension, the people of Winnipeg, who almost stole their team last spring, and Winnipeggers taking advantage of an easy chance to see the Jets in a building that’s almost never full.
No doubt the league saw a chance to sell a few more tickets with this matchup, maybe sow the seeds of a rivalry.
One of just three Western Conference teams the Jets face twice this season, the Coyotes will return the favour by visiting the ’Peg, Dec. 1.
But building a rivalry takes one of two things: a heated playoff series, or time.
The former won’t happen until the Jets relocate to the West, not to mention locate their game.
And the Coyotes might not have the latter.
If this is the last home opener for the old Jets, perhaps it’s fitting they entertain the new Jets.
And keep those ticket stubs, fans.
They might be worth more in 20 years than they are today.