The upcoming hockey season might bring an unexpected change for the devoted fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they find the ticket availability significantly tighter during the team’s twice-yearly visit to Buffalo’s Keybank Centre along the Queen Elizabeth Way. The change is driven by a proposed ticket sales policy being fine-tuned by the Sabres, aimed at securing a larger hometown presence inside their arena.
The fresh strategy plans to unveil a unique pre-sale ticket arrangement exclusive to local fans, a concept initially brought to light by The Buffalo News. The Sabres’ spokesperson later confirmed to CTV News Toronto that this method is under consideration as a means to acquire a more considerable Sabres fan base turnout at the games. Explicit particulars regarding the proposed policy have not yet been shared publicly as it is still pending formal announcement.
Notably, Leafs enthusiasts have demonstrated a loyal tradition of invading the Keybank Centre in past games, seizing the opportunity to benefit from Buffalo’s more budget-friendly ticket rates. When confronted about whether the policy was primarily designed to curb the influx of Leafs fans, the Sabres’ spokesperson offered no specific confirmation. However, a distinct lack of satisfaction was inferred from remarks made by Sabres Vice-President of Sales and Service, Frank Batres-Landaeta. The executive confessed to seeing “the wrong colour blue” occupying their stands during several games the previous season, which led the club to contemplate about how to ensure more tickets found their way into the hands of Buffalo’s supporters.
Should the Sabres choose to implement this exclusive local pre-sale ticket plan, it wouldn’t be the first time Leafs fans would be compelled to resort to strategies in order to root for their team in a rival’s territory. The Florida Panthers adopted a similar tactic during last year’s playoffs, restricting the ticket pre-sale for their second round series against the Leafs to U.S fans only. Undeterred, a substantial number of Leafs fans managed to infiltrate the building for the club’s first second-round appearance since 2004.
The Leafs are scheduled to confront Buffalo on December 21 and March 30 in the upcoming season, and on those dates we just may witness a sea change in the color blue dominating Keybank Centre’s stands.