AFHL Teams & Cities Preparing for Playoff Pandemonium
March 12th, 2018
The AFHL regular season ended last night and immediately the eight qualifying teams, hockey fans, business owners, and police began preparing for the playoff season.
Sports stores all around the United States and Canada started preparing for a rush of customers by ordering double the teams merchandise than usual.
“There’s a whole new batch of merchandise, everything from jerseys to tattoos to face paint and streamers, and stuff like this,” said Kelly Hodgson, manager of a Modell’s sporting goods store.
Nearby the San Diego Gulls home ice arena, fans are planning to watch the games in bars and restaurants on a street where celebrations turned chaotic last year after winning the AFHL Stanley Cup.
Pittsburgh police are also busy preparing for celebrations, and said it will cost between $50,000 and $60,000 per night to patrol the streets. After losing Game 7 in the Finals last year, they know what to expect.
“Experience is a good teacher, and we definitely know where we have to prepare and what we have to look at and those plans have been underway for some time,” Pittsburgh Deputy EPS Chief Brian Simpson said.
Most police squads won’t say exactly where their extra resources will be deployed, but they’re reminding fans they will be cracking down on public drinking and jaywalking during the playoffs.
Several years ago after the Buffalo Phantoms lost to the Hamilton Firestorm in the Finals, more than $4 million was spent on police resources and 900 people were arrested in the streets of Buffalo.
This time around, police are bringing in crowd control experts from the United Kingdom for insight on how to handle these situations.
Meanwhile, some of those not quite lucky enough to get a ticket to a playoff game at their team’s home ice arena will be watching the games from their local bars such as The Irish Tavern in Washington right next to the Wolfpack’s arena – where managers plan to bring in a DJ and extra staff on game nights.
Work is still underway in much of Atlantic City surrounding the Sharks arena – and the Sharks are working to find a way to engage with fans outside the arena.
“Obviously, like everything else in this industry, we’re very superstitious about jumping too far ahead until it’s locked down, but after the celebration from our playoff birth a couple weeks ago our whole organization is busy in meetings around the city today just finalizing plans,” Stew MacDonald with the Sharks Entertainment Group said.
Tickets for home playoff games mostly spoken for
At this point, all eight qualifying teams are guaranteed at least two playoff games at home this week, and the teams say tickets will be hard to get, as the majority have already been spoken for by season ticket holders.
Those season ticket holders were given the first chance to reserve playoff tickets, and it’s an opportunity most took.
“I can tell you the percentage is the highest we’ve ever seen, well over 90 percent,” a Laval Nomads spokesman said.
Some teams’ season ticket holders also have the option of entering a draw to buy more tickets next week – and whatever is left will go on sale the following day.
Manhattan officials say their number of tickets available at this point will be in the hundreds, not thousands, and they’re expected to be sold “within minutes”.
However, on game days, teams are expected to release more tickets and alert fans through email – services thousands of people have signed up for.
The Supermen wouldn’t say what tickets will cost; only confirming the price will be comparable to what season ticket holders are paying. Round 1 ranges from an average of $125 per seat in the upper bowl, to about $213 per seat in the lower bowl, plus more than $300 for club seats.
In addition, tickets will not be issued in a hard copy – only digital. Supermen officials said they decided to go digital to avoid ticket fraud.