For 30 brief minutes this morning, Kevin Ebert of San Jose was the Sharks’ No. 1 fan. Or at least the team’s luckiest.
Ebert, 51, emerged from a sea of about 225 devoted hockey fans with lucky wristband No. 1555 and took his place at the front of the line at HP Pavilion, where he was guaranteed to land two seats for the Sharks upcoming home games in the Western Conference finals. Ebert was one of about 80 fans at HP Pavilion who bought tickets before ushers delivered the bitter news that the games had sold out. Ebert and his brother Richard will be among the crowd of frenzied Sharks fans at Game 2, rooting for the men in teal to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time.
“Go Sharks,” Ebert yelled as he assumed his place at the front of the line, described by team officials as the largest this season. “I just got lucky.” Fans took less than 30 minutes to devour about 1,500 tickets for the Sharks’ first two home games in the Western Conference finals, a series that will likely start Friday or Sunday, depending on the outcome of the series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. Several fans in line were also trying to purchase tickets by cell phone and online.
But for every fan who walked away happy, two left empty-handed. Some fans were already talking about coming back for a potential Game 5 in San Jose. For others, a lack of tickets was a temporary condition. Jody Troxel, 31, was at the front of the line when it was announced the games had sold out. Instead of fretting, the San Jose man quickly called a ticket broker and purchased two nosebleed tickets for about $200 a pop. Troxel, a butcher by trade who is unemployed and living off savings, did not blink twice about paying a 77 percent increase. “I definitely feel like we’re doing big things,” Troxel said of his team’s playoff run.