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NHL Begins Luring Back The Fans

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — NHL teams have showed their regrets for missing the first Stanley Cup presentation since 1919 by lowering ticket prices and offering fan incentives.

In the next month, while teams will be frantically reshaping rosters, they must also focus on rekindling their relationships with the fans they left out on the ice for the past ten months. Many have hinted at extensive apologies, ticket-price rollbacks, and glittery events at which they’ll get the chance to meet the players.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Anaheim Mighty Ducks have already cut prices on season tickets. The Los Angeles Kings plan to offer an apology in the form of a full-page newspaper advertisement, prior to also cutting ticket prices.

The New York Rangers held an event on Monday, giving over 1,000 fans receiving a voucher for two tickets for a regular-season game. The Islanders announced that 3,000 tickets would be available at $10 for 10 first-half regular-season home games.

“If you don’t communicate with your fans if you’re not sincere and don’t appreciate them, nothing else you do matters,” Don Bonham, CEO of Denver-based sports-marketing firm the Bonham Group, told the Times.

That was the underlying theme to news conferences held by the union on Thursday, after the players had ratified the contract, and by the league on Friday, after the board of governors had approved the deal.

“We consistently throughout the process have apologized to fans for having to go through this," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said when asked Friday if the fans were owed an apology. "There is no shortage of regret at having been through such a difficult process. I'm glad it's over with and glad we accomplished the objective that had to be accomplished. We couldn't have operated another season the way we were."

Bonham’s company has done multiple studies showing that the NHL would have little trouble drawing fans back into the arenas.

“The research I have done, fans have responded positively,” Bonham told the paper. “They told us they understood the issues and that it needed to be fixed and if it was fixed they would come back and support the NHL.”

Some fans, however, are still angry.

“I’m upset with both sides that they couldn’t get this done earlier,” Bob Rauchfleish, a Kings fan, told the paper. “They shafted fans out of an entire season of hockey. At this point, I will probably watch games on television, but that is about as much as I will do this season.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers