There wasn't a seat to be found in the "Canadian Club", er, Olympia Room.
What a lot of people don't understand, is during the 90's, times were pretty good in Detroit, and all the small shops that did work for the auto companies were the ones that were buying season tickets. With the success of The Wings, tickets became more of a valuable commodity, and people used tickets as gifts, to help schmooze buyers from the Big 3. Right around 2000, 2 things happened. The first, was the Big 3 telling their employees that they could no longer accept "gifts" from suppliers. (It still happened, and still does, just a lot fewer purchasers, and even more playing within their companies rules.) The second, and more important part, is in late 2000, the local economy was getting shaky, especially in the auto industry. Over the next 5-10 years, most of these small suppliers went out of business, or were purchased by larger companies, and they no longer had the need, or the funds, to continue purchasing tickets. (A quick drive up Groesbeck Hwy, will be a quick reminder of how many small businesses, disappeared.) During this time, The Wings remained competitive, and tickets were still in demand. Ticket brokers started snapping them up, several of them from out of town. The Red Wings organization was happy to be replacing their lost customers with new ones, and wasn't all that concerned about the addresses of the new owners. Plenty of locals still had extra money, and would pay for these "broker" tickets, to go see a game. When 2007 came around, even more jobs were gone, and discretionary spending for a hockey game was nonexistent for the average fan. This is around the time that the sellout streak ended. I'm pretty sure, that the 07-08 season, was the first in 15 years that wasn't all sellouts. The year we win The Cup, and we can't sellout the barn. Tough times indeed. Even more people gave up season tickets, and even more ticket brokers bought them up. Now, there are so many season ticket packages that are owned by brokers, that places like StubHub, and Ticketmaster, are full of seats that go unsold, especially during weekday games, and less desirable teams. The only times The Joe gets really full, is on weekends, for high demand teams, and for the playoffs. A quick look on StubHub, shows several tickets in the lower bowl available for Friday night against Carolina. Some people even wanting $1000 per ticket, but several priced around double face value. For Carolina. I'm sure that I'll once again have plenty of room to spread out, Friday, as the tickets, both in front of me, and next to me, are owned by the same broker from New Jersey, and I doubt that their secretaries will want to make the trip to Detroit, to see Carolina.