And that’s the problem. Even with the game being played at Wrigley Field, which seats far more people than any NHL arena, demand for tickets far exceeds supply. Most of the tickets were never offered for open public sale, what with season ticket holders and other groups getting first crack at purchasing tickets. Still, the Black Hawks set up a framework for the public sale of remaining tickets. It was in the form of on-line registration for a lottery. Only those whose names were chosen would be given the opportunity to buy tickets. Fingers crossed, I signed up for the lottery, but to no avail. The date for receiving the announcement that my name had been chosen came and went without a peep from the Black Hawks, so away I went with a shrug. I knew the odds were long, but I took my shot. To quote Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I quietly made plans to be in front of my TV on New Year’s Day, tuned in to NBC.
And then, just last night, Hope made an unexpected reappearance. I received an email from the Black Hawks, advising me of the following:
“…As the installation of the rink is now underway, it has been determined that seats previously unavailable may now be made available for sale. Because you expressed an interest in purchasing tickets by entering the recent Winter Classic promotion, we would like to alert you that such tickets will be made available…”
So I was back in the game! The sale began at the stroke of noon today (12/23). At precisely that moment, I hit the link to the web site and navigated through a succession of screens and virtual waiting rooms until I was at the point where I could select and purchase tickets. But there was a problem. The cheap seats were all gone. By “cheap seats” I mean the $75 ones. Yes, you read that correctly. The bleacher, obstructed view, and otherwise crappy seats started at an icy-cool $75. What I had to choose from today started at $225. For one ticket. And they didn’t have any together; just single seats. And even some of the $225 seats were obstructed view.
Oh boy. My finger hovered over the mouse button, unsure of where to click next. The on-screen clock advised me that I had 3 minutes and 30 seconds before my seats would be let go. I made a quick phone call to a friend of mine. The plan had been for me to buy the allowed maximum of 4 tickets – one for me, one for him, one for his girlfriend, and one to either offer to another friend or sell. I told him the situation and he quickly assured me that $225 a pop was too rich for his blood. “Mine too,” I heard myself saying, and we said goodbye. For a moment, I convinced myself that I could justify buying just one ticket and going by myself, but then I heard the echo of my voice saying “Mine too,” and I sadly moved the cursor down to the button that read “Cancel Order” and clicked.
So we return to Plan B, where I sit in my living room at noon on January 1st, tuned in to NBC, and rooting for my hometown Red Wings. Unless they release more tickets in the next few days… Damn! There goes Hope again, rearing its desperate head.