Sales picking up

ADAM WAZNY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET

A recent surge in ticket sales paired has brought organizers of the 2007 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championships a sense of optimism.

The good vibrations continued Friday.

The All-Canadian Six-Pack in the lower bowl of the MTS Centre features the four Canada round-robin games plus the two medal round contests.

Those seats were opened up to the general public yesterday and with the home team the only country on the marquee which seems to generate a buzz, the packages should be the hot ticket of the event.

"We want people to get on board right now, so they'll get the preferred seating," warned event chair Polly Craik.

"We're expecting to really start selling out now. We've been getting call after call after call, asking when the lower bowl is going to go on sale."

100,000 GOAL

The expected interest of the higher end Canadian packs will certainly help organizers near the original goal of 100,000 tickets sold for the tournament, which goes April 3-10 in Winnipeg and Selkirk.

Craik said ticket sales are at "over 50%," meaning the expected numbers from the lower bowl packages should boost totals to a more manageable 80% or so before organizers open up individual tickets for games.

The chair is confident people will want these seats, and is pleased with the progress of late.

"Absolutely," she said, adding over 1,200 Canadian ticket packages have been sold in the upper deck. "We keep hammering away at it and we still have some corporate support coming in -- which has gone very well. But as you know, it all comes down to those ticket sales and with every event there is a certain amount of walk-up. Hopefully we don't even have to go to individual ticket sales, that all the lower bowl seating will go with the packages.

"We're bang on (with our numbers) now. We're cautiously optimistic."

The reality of this event is the Canadian games will be the biggest draws.

The casual hockey fan might think twice before shelling out for a Germany-Switzerland game but when it comes to the Maple Leaf, it's tough to imagine the downtown rink not at or near capacity.

"That Hockey Canada jersey says a lot, from the sledge hockey team, to the women's team to the men's team," said former women's team captain and current broadcaster Cassie Campbell, in town to throw her name behind the event.

"People love it, they flock to that jersey and it's all about Canada. People have a lot of pride in hockey (here).

"I'd be extremely disappointed if we didn't fill the stands, because we've filled the stands in every other Canadian city we've had a world championship in."

Lower bowl ticket packages start at $120 and go up to $165.

All packages for the Winnipeg and Selkirk games are available through Ticketmaster.


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