Downsized: Veteran Sens season ticket holder finds his seats eliminated

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  2. Imagine Robert Giroux’s surprise when he turned on the TV and saw that the Ottawa Senators seats he’s bought for the last six years were now covered by a black tarp and not for sale.

    Giroux and his seats had been downsized.

    “Well thank you Sens owner for kicking me out of my seats,” Giroux wrote in a comment on an Ottawa Citizen story about new team president Tom Anselmi’s decision to shrink the capacity of the Canadian Tire Centre by 1,500 this year.

    “I’ve been a half season ticket holder for close to 20 years. really appreciated you telling me 2 weeks before the season starts that I can’t get my regular seats and still have no clue what or where I’ll be sitting this year,” he wrote. “(Y)our new Man Tom with Less is more mentality isn’t going to work. Fans can only pay what they can afford. So nice move by getting rid of lower priced tickets. Wish i could say it was nice doing business with you.”

    The den of Robert and Jocelyne Giroux’s Pinecrest area home is like a Senators shrine, filled with signed jerseys, player bobbleheads and posters of Sens greats like Chris Phillips and Wade Redden. Spartacat came to Jocelyn’s retirement party.

    The couple has owned half-season tickets since 1996-97. This year’s $1,100 package arrived in an elegant box Tuesday, with a booklet of 22 tickets for Section 315, Row S, Seats 1 and 2. Giroux moved to the section about six years ago, partly to get away from rowdy fans in their old section. He has a bad back and wanted seats at the end of a row near a concrete pillar so he can stand to ease his back pain and not block the view of fans behind him.

    He’s upset that his favourite seats aren’t wanted by the team anymore as it adopts a tactic that reduces availability to increase demand.

    “If you can’t sell the top part, don’t expect them to buy seats in the bottom part,” Giroux said. “They’ll make it just like Toronto, where only rich people can go.

    “$1,100 isn’t much to them, but it’s a lot to us.”

    The Senators have offered Giroux seats in a new section — right beside the organ — but that’s a no-go because he also suffers from tinnitus, a condition that would be aggravated by the loud noise.

    In an email to the Citizen Wednesday, the Senators noted it’s not uncommon for season ticket holders to be relocated when seating layout is changed between seasons.

    “We are diligently working with the handful of ticket holders remaining who need to be relocated due to this change,” the email said. “We’ve been very successful in relocating our fans in these situations and are working to do so in this unique case.”

    Giroux said Wednesday afternoon that he’d been contacted by the organization, which had offered to provide new seats and cover any cost differential for this year. But because seats have already gone on sale to the public, they might not get the same seat for every game.

    Meanwhile, Giroux joked that he might go to Monday’s pre-season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a pair of scissors to cut a hole in the tarp over his old seats in Row S.

    bcrawford@postmedia.com

    Twitter.com/getBAC

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