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Chiefs celebrating anniversary with season-ticket slash

Chilliwack Cheifs head coach Harvey Smyl, flanked by Glen Ringdal (left) and Dan Whalley, vice-president of branch operations for Prospera Credit Union during a press conference Monday. - Greg Knill/ The Progress
Chilliwack Cheifs head coach Harvey Smyl, flanked by Glen Ringdal (left) and Dan Whalley, vice-president of branch operations for Prospera Credit Union during a press conference Monday.
— image credit: Greg Knill/ The Progress

The Chilliwack Chiefs are cutting some season ticket packages by more than 50 per cent as the team prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Calling it a 'celebration price,' team president Glen Ringdal revealed what the cost will be to see junior A hockey next year.

From now until April 1, adult season tickets will tumble from $388 to $199. Seniors will pay $189 and all child and youth prices will pay $99. After April 1, prices will rise to a level that will still be at least 25 per cent lower than this year's prices.

You can call it the Penticton plan. The Vees did much the same thing last summer during a 30 day campaign. With the lower ticket prices and a good on-ice product, Penticton has averaged 2,066 fans per game in 2013-14 as opposed to 1,786 in 2012-13.

“They had great success with it, even though they did it at a time of the year where's there's not a lot of attention on hockey,” Ringdal noted. “We're thinking if we do it now, when people are in the building, there should be a strong response to it.”

But, if the current promotion centers around the team's 25th anniversary, what happens in 2014-15?

“We have promised anyone buying their season tickets this year will be able to buy their season tickets for the following year at that same 25 per cent off price,” Ringdal said. “It'll be very good pricing for a minimum of two years, and maybe more. The more people who are in here on a regular basis, the less revenue we need to generate from ticket sales.”

The Chiefs have seen their attendance slide backwards this year. Their per-game averages topped 2,000 the last two seasons.

But with the team struggling mightily on the ice, the average is down to 1,647.

That's still good for third best in the BCHL, and Ringdal said attendance is down just about everywhere.

“All of hockey is, and it's not unique to our league at all,” he said. “As a matter of fact, it's quite pronounced in some other leagues. As a team, we were number one in Canada for two years in a row. This year the team hasn't performed at the same level, and that naturally leads to a decline. Also, I think our season ticket prices last year were a little too high because they included the BCHL Showcase and some other things.”

At the same time he was introducing the new ticket prices, Ringdal also announced the return of Prospera Credit Union as the title sponsor at Prospera Centre. With the 10 year naming-rights deal set to expire, a new five-year deal was signed between Prospera Credit Union and the Chiefs Development Group.

“They said, 'Either we're going to be very involved, or not involved at all,'” Ringdal said of the tougher-than-expected negotiations. “They didn't want to put their name on the building and have that be the end of the story. They want to help us develop activities, programs and events to make this building a memory-place for the people of Chilliwack. They really haven't been involved to this extent in the past, but they've now made a conscious decision to put some hard effort into this building.”

Dan Whalley, a Chilliwack resident and Prospera Credit Union's vice president of branch operations, said his company is delighted to attach its name to a 'true community arena.'

“Our mission is to make a meaningful difference in the well-being of our members and our communities, and we believe the Chilliwack Chiefs and Prospera Centre do just that,” he said. “We look forward to continuing that journey together.”

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