Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/18/05 at 08:24 AM ET
A free autographed puck to one fan every time Dallas scores at home. A Luc Robitaille-signed jersey to season-ticket holders in Los Angeles. Dollar hot dogs in Nashville. A barbecue with the Bruins in Boston. Five-hundred free tickets to each of 15 Tuesday night games in Montreal. Sacre bleu! NHL teams are romancing their fans. Hey, Tampa Bay's season-ticket holders even get a re-engagement ring -- a replica of the one Lightning players earned for winning the 2004 Stanley Cup. It's all part of each team's marketing effort after the first work stoppage in history to wipe out an entire pro sports season. Each franchise devised its own strategy, and most started with a rollback in ticket prices. The Sharks are among the teams that lowered prices, an average of 10 percent for season tickets and 6.5 percent for single games. But beyond that, they've been relatively quiet while other teams have announced a host of giveaways, gimmicks and special events. ``Some teams may make more of a quick splash,'' said Malcolm Bordelon, the Sharks' executive vice president of business operations. ``Our preference is to spread it throughout the year.'' Still, it won't be business as usual on opening night.
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