The exciting action of NHL hockey has long been considered to be far more exciting in person than it is on television. Getting up close and personal with 6-foot beasts on skates, charging at each other from across the ice is something every sports fan should behold at least once in their life.
However, in order to do so, you must be willing to shell out some serious dough. NHL ticket prices have been on the rise, and are especially expensive in Canada where the game is more of a lifestyle than a sport. As of the start of the 2013-14 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have the most expensive tickets on the secondary market, with an average price of around $370 at the the Air Canada Center. This is 14% higher than last year's total, thanks in part to the Leafs reaching the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. Meanwhile, Winnipeg Jets or Edmonton Oilers tickets fetch an average of $270 each on the secondary market.
Prices can be just as expensive on the southern side of the 49th parallel. It's around $313 on average for a Chicago Blackhawks ticket while the New York Rangers seats have an aftermarket value of around $230.
On the other hand, not all teams can afford to charge such high ticket prices. It's just $77 on average for a Phoenix Coyotes ticket or around $100 to see a Tampa Bay Lightning game. And that's for an "average" ticket. You can get much cheaper seats to many games in the southern US. Despite recent CBA reforms and a new profit sharing system that pays for much of the salaries of small market teams, many of them still struggle with poor attendance at games and poor television deals.
But enough with that depressing stuff. The NHL is (for the most part) alive and well and many teams continue to thrive. The following lists the 10 teams with the highest tickets you can buy for an individual game. The list does not take into account tickets with higher values that reserved for season ticket holders. For example, the Lenovo Champions Club seats at Carolina Hurricanes games (which are worth $225 each) wouldn't qualify.
10 Detroit Red Wings - Rows 0-1 - $175
While a box suite for the upcoming Winter Classic game at Michigan Stadium would cost $279 per seat, a single regular season ticket in either of the two front rows at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit would go for $175. This less expensive than most tickets for the big outdoor game on New Year's Day. The Red Wings are charging $189 or more for a large number of the best tickets to this anticipated event which will see the Wings face off against Original Six rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
9 Winnipeg Jets - P1 seats - $205
Due to the extreme demand for Winnipeg Jets tickets in their return to the NHL and the team's successful Drive to 13,000 campaign, the best and most expensive tickets for Jets games are reserved to those who have season ticket plans that last for at least five years. The Jets refuse to address the specifics on how much people are paying for some of these seats but it's clear that the best tickets you can get for single games (if you can get them) are P1 seats at the MTS Centre. These include Sections 105, 106, 118 and 119 and go for $205 a pop.
8 Pittsburgh Penguins - Club Lodge Boxes - $300
The Club Lodge Box sections of the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh are located in private spaces of the stadium with their own private balconies and amenities. These spaces are hot for all sorts of parties and outings, but it does cost $300 for tickets in this part of the stadium. It's probably worth it, though, considering you could still pay close to $100 for a single seat in one of the far corners on the upper deck. Simply put, the Pens charge lots for their games no matter where you go.
7 Minnesota Wild - OTG - $300
The Minnesota Wild will charge $300 on average for an OTG or On the Ground ticket right next to the glass. The Wild work with a dynamic schedule and $300 is a standard average. You'd have to pay $330 or more to see them play popular teams like Chicago, Vancouver, Detroit or either New York team. It only makes sense for the Wild to charge this much, what with big name players like Zack Parise and Ryan Suter making $7.5 million per year from now until 2025.
6 Anaheim Ducks - Glass - $316
You'd have to pay $316 for a single front-row ticket at the Honda Center to catch an Anaheim Ducks game. Prices for these tickets do not change depending where you sit around the glass. However, you could technically pay much less for these seats if you have a special ticket plan with the Ducks. Season ticket holders pay just $202 for a front row view of the ice. Of course, season tickets go for $9,090 total, so maybe it's not so affordable after all. You could always pay $20 to watch from the upper deck corners at Row P or higher.
5 New York Rangers - Delta Sky 360 Club - $350
Following a massive renovation project to the Madison Square Garden that cost nearly $300 million, the New York Rangers and the other tenants that call the Garden home are trying to find ways to cover the expense associated with modernizing the venue. The Delta Sky 360 Club, a spot that covers the first ten rows around the middle of the ice, has tickets that are worth around $350 a seat. From these seat's you'll be able to catch every pass, shot and save from both teams.
4 Boston Bruins - Club Level - $400
It costs $400 to get a Club Level seat at a Boston Bruins game. Located in sections 107 to 115 and 137 to 145 at the TD Garden, the Club level has a private lounge, fine upholstered seats, and a few special dining and drinking areas like the AT&T Sportsdeck. The Bruins do use a dynamic pricing schedule for tickets, so the $400 value is an approximation. Some games will have Club tickets that cost $450 each but that's based on high demand games such as when the arch rival Montreal Canadiens come to town.
3 Montreal Canadiens - Platinum - $410
Speaking of the Habs, it will cost around $435 Canadian ($410 USD) to get seats in the Platinum section at a Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre. These are ice-level seats that surround the glass, all the way around the ice. The Habs have an Optimum program where the ticket price may be higher for certain games. This is especially the case when the team plays against Toronto, Boston or another Original Six team. You could pay $500 for one of these tickets during really high-demand games.
2 Toronto Maple Leafs - Platinum Lounge - $450
It will cost $475 Canadian or $450 American to get tickets in the Platinum Lounge section of the Air Canada Centre to see the Toronto Maple Leafs in action. A private restaurant is located around these seats near ice level, and fancier fans can benefit from the ACC's wine cellar that has more than three thousand varieties to choose from. However, this will cost a good deal with tickets often selling out well in advance. You may have to go to the aftermarket for a ticket to this section, and if you do, expect to pay much more.
1 Chicago Blackhawks - The PrivateBank 100 Level - $500
The Private Bank 100 Level tickets at Chicago's United Center are the most expensive tickets available for Chicago Blackhawk games. These seats span the entire first row of the stadium and put you right in the middle of the action. These tickets will set you back a cool $500 regardless whether your seats are behind a net, the players' bench or the penalty box. It's not surprising that the United Center offers some of the most expensive tickets in hockey, as it was the first arena in the league to acheive an average attendance of 20,000 fans (which it did in its inaugural 1993-94 season). Their two recent Stanley Cup wins in 2010 and 2013 have also helped to ensure the team fills its seats every game.
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