American hockey fans against blocking Canadian residents from attending NHL games
May 15th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

American hockey fans against blocking Canadian residents from attending NHL games

An overwhelming majority of American hockey fans say it would be unfair for US teams to restrict Canadian residents from attending NHL matches. The findings are from a survey of 1,000 ice hockey fans in the US, conducted on May 4.

Four-fifths of the hockey fans in the US said it would be “very unfair” or “somewhat unfair” to block ticket sales to US non-residents for home matches in the country (80%).

Only 16% of all American hockey fans said such a move would be “very fair” or “somewhat fair”. Similar percentages were recorded when asked about Canadian-based NHL teams restricting tickets from US residents. Male and female hockey fans were almost equally likely to deem such a move as being fair or unfair.

While fans are clearly against restricting fans from attending games based on national residency, what do they feel about host teams taking measures to restrict away team support at arenas? Three in ten American hockey fans feel teams should be allowed to limit the number of tickets available to away fans (29%). A similar portion said that teams could implement loyalty programs to prioritize home team fans in ticket sales (27%).

Nearly a fifth said that teams could “limit away fan ticket purchases to certain arena sections only.” Measures like banning away fans from arenas entirely (1%), prohibiting away team apparel in certain sections of the arena (2%) and increasing ticket prices for away fans (4%) received minimal support.

Tellingly, a plurality of fans chose to not implement any of these options (41%). There is a precedent in sport when it comes to restricting away fans – most notably in European top-flight soccer where teams sometimes disallow away team apparel in certain sections of the stadium and reserve designated areas of the stands to the away contingent. But hockey fans in the US are largely supportive of having away fans in home arenas at their full capacity.

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