A seven-month-old baby will be allowed to attend the upcoming NHL Heritage Classic game on Sunday in Winnipeg free of charge after all. In a statement released on Tuesday, the league announced a reversal to its controversial policy on ticketing for special events.
Under the new guidelines, children under the age of two can attend special hockey games, such as the NHL All-Star, Winter Classic, Stadium Series and Heritage Classic, without a ticket, as long as they sit on the lap of an accompanying adult. The NHL’s previous policy required all fans, regardless of age, to purchase a ticket.
“After reviewing this practice, the League has decided to adopt a standard that more closely mirrors that of similar entertainment events and that to which local NHL Clubs adhere,” the NHL statement read.
The Winnipeg Jets allow children under the age of two into regular season home games without a ticket and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football club allows anyone under the age of three into their games for free.
The news comes as a relief to one Winnipeg family who bought tickets to the 2016 Heritage Classic game between the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers at Investors Group Field. Clifford Anderson and Shalyn Meady were outraged when they discovered last month that they would have to purchase a $400 ticket for their infant son. They had already spent $800 on two adult tickets for the game.
The league also stated that refunds would be available to anyone who already bought a 2016 Heritage Classic ticket for a child under the age of two. Fans are being advised to bring their ticket and the child to the main box office at Investors Group Field on the day of the game to receive their refund.
Anderson and Meady had contacted the Winnipeg Jets about the issue in September and were considering filing a human rights complaint. They also debated selling or donating their adult tickets if they weren’t going to be able to bring their son with them. The couple told CTV Winnipeg they’re happy with the NHL’s change of heart.