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Crowchild Classic ticket worth the price of admission

January 28 2019 —

There are only a handful of events each year at the University of Calgary that can genuinely be said to unite the student body. One of these is the Crowchild Classic hockey game, which pits the men’s and women’s Dinos teams against their Mount Royal University counterparts in a doubleheader at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Both schools’ athletes consistently deliver high-quality, exhilarating hockey, with the men’s game ending in double-overtime wins for the Dinos in each of the past three years. And while Calgarian students’ support of varsity athletes will never approach the fever pitch seen at universities outside of Canada, the Crowchild Classic is one of the few annual occasions where U of C school spirit is palpable.

Jan. 29 marks the seventh iteration of the Crowchild Classic, with one major change coming to the event — tickets for general admission now cost $5. Until this year, admission to the games was free.

While some will certainly feel disappointed that there’s now a cost associated with an event they previously enjoyed for free, the decision to add an entry fee makes sense. Last year, the two schools gave away 14,000 tickets — a sell-out for the configuration of the Saddledome used. But about 4,000 of those tickets were never even used. That’s nearly 30 per cent of the arena that could have seated excited students but ended up wasted.

Part of the reason why so many seats weren’t filled is because the resale market for Crowchild Classic tickets has grown over the past few years. When tickets were free, they’d sell out fairly quickly and force students who wanted to go to the game to buy a scalped ticket from a fellow student who decided they’d rather make a quick 20 bucks off their free ticket than attend the game and cheer on their classmates. The possibility of this happening at all is antithetical to an event meant to inspire campus pride.

Having over a quarter of seats empty for the Dinos’ marquee game reflects poorly upon both the student body and the U of C’s athletics department, not to mention that it’s a let down for members of both schools’ hockey teams. The event is their only opportunity of the year to play before a sizable crowd. Having to drop a few dollars on tickets will make missing the game for whatever reason feel like a sunk cost and hopefully encourage more students to make the trek from campus to the Stampede grounds.

Plus, it’s not like the Crowchild Classic isn’t worth the $5 admission. The games are a blast and the atmosphere beats out a typical Flames game. And while it’s certainly nice for events like this to be free for students, the tickets are cheaper than the nachos, beer or malt ice cream attendees will buy during the game anyway. Plus, ticket revenue will go towards wellness initiatives at both the U of C and MRU, according to the Dinos.

We won’t know how successful the implemented ticket price will be until after the Crowchild Classic, but tickets to the event are still available here. While there’s often reason to be grumpy about universities nickel-and-diming students, this isn’t one of those cases. Drop a fiver on the game and have a good time.

Jason Herring, Gauntlet editorial board

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