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Winnipeg Jets cancel some season tickets for suspected reselling

By Alfred Branch Jr.

The Winnipeg Jets hockey team has cancelled an undisclosed number of season ticket accounts for "activity regarding the re-sale of tickets," the team said last week.

The team did not disclose the exact violations it cited in cancelling the accounts, but stated in a release that the individuals acted "contrary to the provisions of account holders' Ticket Purchase Agreement with the Jets and Provincial law in Manitoba."

The Jets opened the 2011-12 season with a loss at home Sunday, October 9, where tickets were listed on the secondary market for prices well in excess of $1,000 each in some cases. Team officials took a hardline against ticket resale by launching a team-sanctioned ticket exchange. The team prohibits the resale of tickets above face value, but it acknowledges that it cannot stop all resales.

"In order to protect buyers and sellers, the organization is monitoring the market on a daily basis," Jim Ludlow said in the same statement. Ludlow is the president and CEO of True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd., which owns the Jets.

Ludlow added, "Although secondary sites may be used, we are encouraging all sellers and buyers to use the Jets SeatExchange as it is the only authorized re-sale service for Winnipeg Jets tickets. The tickets on this website are guaranteed not to be fraudulent and cannot be sold for greater than the posted game-day sale price."

NHL hockey returned to Winnipeg for the first time in 15 years with the launch of the Jets, which were the relocated former Atlanta Thrashers. Season tickets sold out quickly, and ticket resellers have scrambled to buy and sell tickets.

More than 70,000 fans have also registered for the team's random drawing for single-game tickets, according to Ludlow. About 600 tickets will be available for each home game under the drawing.

"By having a random draw, we are ensuring that all fans have a fair chance to attend a Winnipeg Jets game this season," he said in the same statement announcing the ticket account cancellations. "With such an overwhelming demand and such a limited supply, we are now convinced that the draw process was the best way to divide the remaining tickets and guarantee an unbiased process in doing so."

In the days prior to Sunday night's game, Winnipeg police arrested two resellers for scalping tickets above face value. Undercover officers busted the two in separate instances reportedly after the officers replied to online listings for tickets and met the sellers to complete the transactions.

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