As the Boston University men’s hockey team prepares to play in its first NCAA semifinals in six years, students from across the university are fighting to secure themselves a seat throughout BU’s Frozen Four run. To alleviate the stress for some student fans, officials from the Dean of Students Office and the BU Department of Athletics established a lottery system to distribute tickets.
The ticket lottery, which was held in the Agganis Arena lobby on April 2, is based on a loyalty system that awards fans with high home and regional game attendance, according to a March 31 email from the Agganis ticket office.
“The Dean of Students office and Athletics Department looked at loyalty,” said BU spokesman Colin Riley . “Tickets were made available to students who had Sports Pass upgrades and attended 75 percent of games, and the other half went to the remaining student population. Of that group, fewer than 10 percent entered the lottery.”
The hockey team advanced to the Frozen Four semifinals for the first time since 2009 after defeating the University Minnesota Duluth, 3-2, on March 28.
BU Athletics and the Dean of Students office subsidized tickets, which were originally priced at $102.50 per game, bringing down the price to $75 per game, the email stated. Lottery ticket winners are guaranteed a seat at the Thursday semifinal game and the final at TD Garden if BU advances.
Representatives from the Dean of Students office declined to comment.
Riley said the lottery system is fair because of the high demand for tickets and national scope of the championships.
“There are 12,000 students with Sports Passes, enough to fill up [TD] Garden,” he said. “This is not the Beanpot. Fans come from all around the country for this. In some places, depending on who the teams are, the tickets are put back into the system, but this is Boston, and there’s huge demand for these tickets. They are already completely gone.”
The NCAA allocates 600 seats for each team playing in the Frozen Four. There is a greater demand for tickets this year compared to when BU won the National Championship in Washington D.C. in 2009, he said.
“Even if BU wasn’t in [the Frozen Four], it would be a really tough ticket to be had,” he said. “It was a little different in 2009 because the demand wasn’t as much since there were more tickets to be had. In [TD Garden], you’ll see fans wearing every one of the game jerseys … There are fans who just hope to see their team in it one year … They are really just hockey fans.”
Several members of the Dog Pound, BU’s student fan section, said they supported the university’s action to hold the ticket lottery.
“Obviously, we’re super excited that BU has made the Frozen Four for the first time since 2009, and of course, we want as many students to attend as possible, although it’s sad that we couldn’t get millions of tickets,” said Shannon Keane, a junior in the School of Education. “To me, BU handled it better than I thought they would.”
Anna Takahashi, another member of the Dog Pound, agreed that the situation was not ideal to begin with.
“In a perfect world, we’d get hundreds of tickets and everyone would be able to go,” said Takahashi, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences “I think BU did a really good job of making the best of a bad situation.”
Takahashi said this year’s lottery is fairer than the one held in 2009, which was open to the general student population, instead of only Sports Pass holders.
“[The 2009 lottery] was unfortunate because a lot of people who didn’t have a vested interest in the team got tickets in order to resell them and make a profit,” she said.
However, while some students understand the purpose of the lottery system, others said they are upset about the ticket shortage and believe the lottery system is unfair.
Sam Depalma, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said he purchased the more expensive upgraded Sports Pass to gain admission to all games, including games like the Frozen Four semifinals.
“It seemed a little unfair since I spent the extra money to buy [the upgraded pass], so I felt like I could get an extra ticket,” he said. “It seemed like they only guaranteed the top 10 percent [the most “loyal” fans] tickets, so you had to miss only like two games all year.”
Jack Faso, a club hockey player at BU, said a better alternative for the lottery would be for the university to put tickets on sale at discounted prices available to all students, not just ones with the sports pass.
“As a club hockey player, I would have liked to have been able to purchase tickets at a reduced price so I could have watched the game,” said Faso, a sophomore in the Questrom School of Business. “I feel like being at the game is a cool atmosphere, and all students should have the opportunity to have that experience and not have to pay an arm and a leg to go.”