Sens preparing season ticket owners for the worst

The Ottawa Senators have begun preparing their fans for the strong possibility of an NHL lockout.

The Ottawa Senators have begun preparing their fans for the strong possibility of an NHL lockout.

Customers who received their season-ticket packages late last week also received a sobering reminder that labour unrest could wind up cancelling some — or all — of the schedule.

Rather than sending out full booklets of tickets for the 82-game campaign, the team is providing tickets to just the first 10 games, with the promise of more when the collective bargaining situation between owners and players gets sorted out.

“We hope and expect that a new CBA will be agreed upon prior to the expiry of the existing contract,” the team wrote in a letter that accompanied ticket packages. “However, we do have a plan for the possibility that a new agreement is not reached in time and a work stoppage occurs.”

The NHL intends to lock out its players on Sept. 15 if an agreement can’t be reached, with both sides acknowledging there remains a large gulf in negotiations. At the heart of the disagreement is the amount of league revenue the players receive — currently they get 57 per cent, while the latest offer from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was for 46 per cent.

“We are only providing you with tickets for the first 10 games of the season (five games for half-season seat owners) at this time,” the Senators told their fans. “If there are no changes to the NHL schedule, the remainder of your 2012-2013 season tickets will be sent to you in the regular booklet form a few weeks after a new CBA is in place.”

Should the league cancel any games, season seat owners will have the option of receiving a full refund or leaving their money with the team to be applied toward future games. Fans who choose that option will receive five-per-cent interest on the balance.

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