I like the idea of being able to see a Leaf game and not have to think about the expense. I don't have any money so even going to a bar for a beer or two involves complicated logistics and serious financial planning. Finding the cash to actually see a Leaf game live would involve more hard work then I've ever been accustomed to doing, and ever since I started living on my own, Santa stopped coming by for Christmas for some reason.
So I watch most Leaf games at home on TV. Because I have no money, and haven't yet figured out how to steal cable, I only get CBC, which means (usually) I only get to see Saturday night games and have to listen to the rest of the season on my radio. So when I heard the word "free" at a Leafs' press conference, oh boy, was I interested.
The Leafs have added a PRE-SEASON game (yes!) that will be free to everyone! Well, not quite. It won't be on TV, as far as I know. If you wanted a ticket simply handed to you at the ACC, I think you already missed your chance. Now the remainder of the tickets, which is basically all of them minus a couple hundred, need to be acquired through a series of unique promotions and contests. How unique? Will it be dangerous? Do I have to drink Crappy-Cola? Will it wash the bitter taste of "sucking dirt" out of my mouth?
Then comes the news that not one, not two, BUT THREE, Saturday nights this season will be absent of any Leaf hockey. Three cold, lonely nights this winter where I'll have nothing but my wife and kid for solace and comfort. I could go up to 14 days without actually seeing Leaf-action on the TV this winter. 3 times! I'm not sure my wife can take it.
I guess the point of this piece is that I think it's ironic that fewer and fewer (REGULAR SEASON) games will be freely available to the Buds' biggest fans on TV (and each year that number is likely to continue to decline), while soft-drink companies can essientally purchase an entire, albiet PRE-SEASON, game, for their promotion and grandizing. Spin-artists sell the game to us as "free", but there's a cost to everything, including loyalty. Mine is to suffer for it, theirs is to hear about it from me, when I do.
Finally, I can't imagine anyone sitting in those lucky seats for that first ever "free" PRE-SEASON game, taking a deep swig of soda-pop without sugar in it, and thinking to themselves "wow, this doesn't taste awful! Not having to pay to see hockey is like not having sugar in your soft drink! There's no buzz at all. It's like the opposite of getting high. Mmmmmm.... that's deflating!" Enjoy it, indeed.