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My Name Is Ryan, And I'm Part Of The Problem

Derek Leung

With the Canucks officially eliminated from playoff contention, attention in Vancouver has, not surprisingly, shifted from the team on the ice to the front office, with many wondering what changes are in store for a team that fell well short of expectations this season. Mike Gillis is the first casualty, more could follow. I'm not going to go to great lengths defending Gillis here, I think he horribly mishandled the Roberto Luongo situation, but his team had some terrible luck with injuries this season and is probably better than their record indicates. That said, it's always nice to see the Canucks lose, and fair or not, Gillis' time in Vancouver has come to an end.

For the purposes of this article that tweet from Darren Dreger isn't really neccesasary, I just find it funny. What actually caught my eye was Nick Kypreos saying that season ticket renewals are way down. As much as it pains me to say, the Canucks have actually be a very good team for quite a while, over the last six seasons they've been the league's fifth best team and have made the playoffs in every season except this one. Given their recent success you'd think one bad season wouldn't have fans running for the exits, of course Canucks fans are noted bandwagon jumpers so maybe this isn't that surprising after all.

Compare Vancouver's situation that of Edmonton where the team has been an utter disaster for eight years running and yet season ticket holders continue to fork over big dollars to watch a sub par product. Surely if Vancouver's season ticket base can affect change in the team's front office then the Oilers' Tier 1 fans can do the same. Why haven't they? What's wrong with them?

That's a fair question. I'm a season ticket holder, have been since 2006/07, and this is the most disappointed I've been since the team started wandering the desert following the 2006 run to the Stanley Cup Finals. And when my season ticket renewal comes in the mail I will give the Oilers my money without hesitation. And I'll hate myself a little because I know that my unwavering financial support is big part of why there has been very little urgency from Daryl Katz to turn the Oilers from a joke into a contender. That's on me, sorry.

If season ticket holders walked away en masse it would be noticed by ownership, and it would in all likelihood lead to changes within the front office. I'm not going to deny that. It's absolutely true, or at least I hope that it's true. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind about that.

First, the season seat holder list is around 2,000 names long, so you need a lot of people to up and walk away from this team before they're no longer being replaced immediately. Second, while there may be less urgency to win right now because of the support of season ticket holders, there is still an incentive to improve the club: playoff revenue. The money to be made in the playoffs - both from ticket and merchandise sales - is substantial and I can't imagine Katz is thrilled about paying the money that he is and not seeing any additional revenue past game 82. And lastly, let's not forget that every seat is not occupied by a season seat holder, about 2,500 additional tickets are available for all 41 home games and these are often snapped up as soon as they go on sale. So the Tier 2 fan may not share the same level of responsibility as I do but they don't get off scot-free either.

So why don't I get rids of my tickets? The biggest thing that keeps me coming back is the simple fact that I really love going to games. I'm not a "it'll all be worth it if/when the team is good again" kind of guy, I genuinely enjoy being in the arena to watch the games. That season tickets are about half the price of a single game ticket makes the whole thing a little easier to swallow too. I wish the team I was watching was better but I still find the entertainment value to be worth it and so I keep going. And I continue to be a part of the problem.