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Alan Snow and his wife have been season-ticket holders for the Cape Breton Eagles for the past 19 years.
The North Sydney couple has enjoyed attending the games and watched many up-and-coming players hit the ice at Centre 200.
Although the Snow family will forever be supporters of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise, they’re frustrated with the lack of answers they’ve received from the team following the abrupt ending to the 2019-20 season.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the QMJHL was forced to cancel the remainder of the season in mid-March, meaning the final three home games for the Eagles didn’t take place as originally scheduled.
Snow, who as a season-ticket holder paid for 34 games, said he contacted the organization expecting to get reimbursement for the three games – six tickets between the two — but he didn’t like the answer he received.
“I was told I would get my refund for the playoffs, they were good to do that, but there was no refund for the games that were missed. They were going to give us vouchers to take a family member or friend,” said Snow.
“The way I felt, I gave them money to go to hockey games, the hockey games didn’t happen, and I want my money back – I don’t want a voucher or them to tell me how to spend my money.”
Snow said from his understanding those who purchased single-game tickets – otherwise known as the walk-up crowd – received a full refund for the cancelled games, but not the season ticket-holders.
“It still bothers me,” he said, noting he didn’t renew his season tickets this year because of health conditions that would put him at risk if he caught COVID-19.
“It’s three games for both my wife and I, so it’s six tickets that we didn’t get a refund for and I figure we’re owed about $74 from the team.”
In an email statement to the Cape Breton Post last week, Courtney Schriver-Richard, general manager of business operations for the Eagles, said the voucher program’s foundation was built on providing tickets for the upcoming season of equivalent value in order for season-ticket holders to take a friend or family member to the game.
“We were building out other options with our business partners that would allow discounts throughout the community, this also included the additional Eagles Landing (the team’s official store) discount,” said Schriver-Richard.
“The ultimate goal (is) to provide a program that would surpass the $40 (average) reimbursement and give multiple options for use.”
Schriver-Richard said when the organization was building the elements of the program in June, they weren’t aware of how limited the team’s attendance would be and the fact there wouldn’t be a walk-up crowd this season.
“Similar to many areas of our business, we have been forced to revaluate the program as we work through operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has negatively impacted us and our loyal season-seat holders,” she said.
Snow isn’t the only season-ticket holder frustrated. The Post has received more than five emails over the past two weeks from people, many not willing to be interviewed, seeking reimbursement answers from the team.
Andy King purchased season tickets for the first time last season and travelled from the River Bourgeois area to attend every game. Like Snow, he’s also seeking reimbursement.
“The lack of communication between the team and season-ticket holders is what upset me the most because you didn’t know if it was Centre 200 or if it was the team who had your money,” said King.
“I do want the value of the tickets returned – it’s not putting me out by not having the money right now, but I’m not here to donate to charity.”
King said he and his girlfriend reached out to the organization via Facebook and were asked for their phone number in order for someone to call them and discuss the situation.
“Nobody ever called us from the team to address some of our issues,” he said. “We’re not trying to make a big fuss over it all, but you want to get your money back and not get walked over.”
Like Snow, King said he has learned single-game ticket refunds were given and feels season-ticket holders should receive the same.
“The season-ticket holders are your bread and butter, it’s what you bank on every year,” he said, noting he didn’t renew his season tickets for this year for a number of different reasons.
“Those are the people you build your base around, so we should be the last people they’d want to upset or turn away.”
King admits he’d like to get season tickets again next year, but it will depend on how the reimbursement plan works out.
As for Snow, he has full intentions to return as a season-ticket holder next year, noting he appreciates the team allowing him to still have the option to select his regular seats for the 2021-22 campaign.
“Really, I think they should give us the money back from the games we didn’t get to see, plain and simple,” said Snow, noting he wishes the team nothing but the best this year.
“I don’t know how everyone else feels about it, but I know I want my money back.”
Schriver-Richard said the team hopes to provide an update in the coming weeks on how they plan to reimburse season-ticket holders for the cancelled games.