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Only a Fortunate Few Get Precious Duck-ets

Tickets for the Stanley Cup finals sell out in a little more than an hour, with only about 60 of 1,500 fans at the Pond getting seats.

May 22, 2003|Kimi Yoshino | Times Staff Writer

More than 1,500 hockey fans lined up Wednesday outside Arrowhead Pond for the chance to buy Stanley Cup finals tickets. Only the extremely lucky walked away happy.

Within 30 minutes, Ticketmaster had cut off telephone and Internet sales. After 70 minutes, every ticket was gone, even the obstructed views, single seats and standing-room only spots at the Anaheim arena where two -- and possibly three -- games will be played.

The luckiest guy around may have been Steve Prokop, 47, of Orange. Mighty Ducks forward Marc Chouinard randomly drew the number that matched Prokop's wristband, propelling the grocery store produce manager to the front of the line.

"I couldn't believe it," said Prokop, after plunking down $450 for four tickets to Game 4. "I called in sick because I wasn't feeling too well last night. But I'm feeling better now. I don't even need an Advil."

Not everyone fared so well.

"It's a bad day in Duckville," muttered Thomas Reiser, 41, of Silverado Canyon, who said he was 59th in line and standing behind the last person able to buy tickets. "The guy in front of me got two straggler seats, and I was denied.

"Where are all these tickets actually going?"

Ducks team officials declined to say exactly how many tickets were put on sale Wednesday. Season-ticket holders had already had first crack, followed by more than 1,100 newcomers who put down a $250 deposit for season tickets next year. The Pond holds 17,174 people, a little more than a third of the capacity of Edison Field.

"It is the highest-in-demand ticket in town," said Ducks spokesman Charles Harris, adding that the team tried to accommodate more fans by reducing the maximum number of tickets each person could buy from eight to four.

The best-of-seven series begins Tuesday on the road against the Eastern Conference champion, with the Ducks returning home for two games on May 31 and June 2. If the series lasts past the fifth game, Anaheim will host Game 6 on June 7.

Many die-hard Ducks fans, some of whom spent the night at the Pond, went home to log on to eBay, where bids for a pair of tickets to the team's first appearance in the finals were climbing to $800 by midday.

Robert Mendoza thought he had it all figured out: He brought his dad along so he could get an extra randomly numbered wristband; they had two cell phones for calling out-of-state Ticketmasters, and his friends were logged on to their computers.

"I struck out," said a disappointed Mendoza, 31, of Pomona, whose friends already were monitoring sales on eBay for him. "It's disheartening, but I'm going to see if I can pull off a single and fend for myself."

Mendoza said he missed his chance to see the Angels win the World Series. The fan, wearing a Ducks jersey and new cap, said he doesn't plan to let the Stanley Cup finals slip by.

"I may never get [another] chance in this lifetime, but I'm young and I'm stupid, so I'm going to pursue it."

Stacey Hensley, 34, of Laguna Beach and co-workers from a local surgery center figured their wristband numbers were way too high for a chance at tickets. But she's prepared to drop a lot of cash for a ticket to the finals.

"I wouldn't do this for the Lakers," said Hensley, a longtime hockey fan who left empty-handed. "My boss had seventh-row playoff tickets to the Lakers, but my husband and I said, 'Let's save our money, so we can spend more on the Ducks.' "

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