Business

Canucks season ticket sales 'two or three percent' behind

Nicklas Jensen
Nicklas Jensen's fights for the puck against Anaheim's Corey Perry and goalie John Gibson, during a 3-0 loss last season. That night, the fans at Rogers Arena chanted 'Fire Gillis' and the Canucks were officially eliminated from the playoff race.
— image credit: The Canadian Press

It was expected that Canucks' season ticket sales would stall after last season, and now it's been confirmed.

Speaking to Vancouver radio station News 1130 last Friday, Canucks COO Victor De Bonis says sales are a couple percent where the team had hoped they'd be.

"We are down two or three percent here (compared to) where we would normally be based on other years," De Bonis said. "It's just a matter now of working really hard over the next couple months to get back to the season base that we historically want to have."

Last season, the Canucks tailspun after New Year's and missed the playoffs by eight points, their first year without the postseason since 2008.

Vancouver also scored the second-fewest goals in the National Hockey League, more than only the Buffalo Sabres.

They responded by replacing key members of their executive team, firing president and general manager and Mike Gillis and then head coach John Tortorella, who were replaced by Trevor Linden, Jim Benning, and Willie Desjardins.

"We've obviously made a number of changes at the management level over the last two months, you know everybody is really working hard to do their best to get us back on a winning track here," De Bonis said.

The team says it hopes to sell 17,000 season tickets by opening day on Wednesday, October 8. Vancouver will open its 2014/15 NHL season in Calgary against the Flames.

Since hiring Linden as the team's president of hockey operations, he and De Bonis have been holding 'town hall' meetings with fans, and new general manager Jim Benning has been re-tooling the roster, beginning with a frantic Friday last week.

Before the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Benning traded Ryan Kesler and defenceman Jason Garrison, swapping them in separate deals for a haul of Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, Derek Dorsett, and a draft pick that became 24th overall selection Jared McCann.

Benning also used the team's sixth overall pick to select Abbotsford, B.C.'s Jake Virtanen, and he selected goalie Thatcher Demko with the 36th overall selection in the second round.

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