While we wait for draft day to get here (is it Friday yet?), I thought I would come out of retirement just long enough to begin the process of scheduling our group games. This was always my favorite time of summer, trying to plan out my road trips to see which games I plan on making.
This year I've narrowed down my list to 41 of them.
But for the group games, we can go ahead and get the list down to three or four. What follows are the details we know. While there aren't a lot of specifics yet (the schedule was just released on Sunday after all), they will be coming soon. We'll make sure everyone is kept up to date accordingly.
How many games are we scheduling?
We have deposits down for two games already, so that will be a minimum of how many dates we need to select. If a third or fourth date proves popular enough, we can schedule those as well. A couple of things to bear in mind when scheduling any additional group games -- Each new game will require a minimum of 15 people (though for voting on dates, I will set that bar much higher) and a deposit in order to reserve seats. The longer we wait to put a deposit down, the further in line we are behind other groups selecting games.
Personally, I think two is enough since it seemed to work well last season. But if the demand is there, we can add on an additional one or two.
What is the cost?
With the dynamic pricing the Stars and most teams use now, the answer to this will always be "it depends." There are three types of games to attend -- Value, regular, and premium. Premium games are going to cost more, so we will shy away from those. For all non-premium games, the price will either be the same as last year ($50 per ticket) or increase slightly. Official pricing has not been released yet, so we can't give a firm answer. However, it's a safe bet that non-premium games would not be more than $60 each. Premium games you can expect in the $80-90 range. Bear in mind that all of these are well below the cost of gate prices, in addition to the fact that we will not have to pay any TicketMaster fees. That pretty much means saving $30 or so a ticket.
What are the premium games?
Here are the dates we are ruling out in order to try and keep the costs down for everyone. If there is enough demand for one of these (let us know in the comments, we might be able to add it as a third outing:
- October 9th vs. Chicago (Home Opener)
- October 31st vs. Anaheim
- November 28th vs. Minnesota (Black Friday)
- December 6th vs. Montreal
- December 31st vs. Arizona (NYE)
- February 21st vs. Detroit
- March 19th vs. Marc Crawford's Penguins (Please oh please oh please)
- March 21st vs. Chicago
- April 11th vs. Nashville (Final game of the season)
Man, those are some good games on that list.
Yeah, that's why they're premium.
Okay, fine. So what games should we consider going to?
There's still plenty of great options, especially on weekends. Here's a quick list of some of the dates that caught my eye:
- Saturday, 10/18 vs. Philadelphia
- Saturday, 11/8 vs. San Jose
- Saturday, 11/22 vs. Los Angeles
- Saturday, 12/13 vs. New Jersey
- Saturday, 1/3 vs. Minnesota
- Saturday, 1/17 vs. Washington
- Friday, 2/27 vs. Colorado
- Friday, 4/3 vs. St. Louis
The ones in bold are the ones that stuck out to me as potential best dates. The game in November against the Stanley Cup Champs, and the game in January against the Wild give an opportunity for our readers away in college to attend. And the last April game I went to against the Blues seemed to work out pretty well, so I highlighted that one too.
Make sure to pick a date or two below to let us know which ones you'd like to attend the most. These are just some weekend games I found, too. Scheduling is wide open, so if you see a better fit, tell us in the comments what you prefer.
When and how do we pay?
We won't accept any payment until the prices for the games are finalized. It's too much of a guessing game before then. But we will be changing up the process a bit this year from the prior two seasons. Instead of 100 people all calling our rep D'Ann to pay individually, we will collect funds via PayPal. It will make everything much easier for her, and for us, in the long run. I'll have more details on this later when we're ready to accept payments.
Anything else I should know?
Unlike last season, you do not have to attend both group games. If you can only make one, that's perfectly okay. Due to the Modano Retirement Ceremony last year, we had to work things a little differently. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment.