Florida Panthers limit non-U.S. residents from buying Maple Leafs playoff road tickets

Toronto Maple Leafs fans hoping to make a trip down south to catch a playoff game against the Florida Panthers will hit an unexpected road block.

According to a notice on Ticketmaster’s website, tickets to the second round series will be restricted to residents of the United States for the first 24 hours of sales.

The American ticket company said residency will be determined based on customers’ credit card billing address.

Moreover, anyone who tries to buy a ticket for the playoff games at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla. who doesn’t have a U.S. address before the first 24 hours is up will have their order cancelled and be issued a refund, Ticketmaster says.

The restriction does not apply to season-ticket holders who already have passes to the game, which means the resale market isn’t affected by the policy.

Tickets for Game 3 in Florida went on sale at 11 a.m. Monday and are already listed on sites like StubHub with the cheapest pair at time of writing going for $244 each – that’s less than half of what a ticket to Game 1 in Toronto will cost you at $528

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, a spokesperson for the Florida Panthers said the decision to limit ticket sales gives “local fans first access” to the game.

After the initial 24 hours has passed, anyone can buy a ticket regardless of their residence, the team confirmed.

This isn’t the first time an NHL organization has tried to restrict fans of the visiting team from buying a ticket.

Back in 2013, the Ottawa Senators offered fans extra tickets to upcoming home games against the Leafs and the Canadiens for 15 per cent off – as long as the tickets weren’t resold to non-Sens fans.

That decision was brought on, at least in part, by the strong showing of Leafs fans that travelled east for their rivals’ home games, and added a strong blue-and-white contingent to the former Scotiabank Place’s red and black.

Fans in Maple Leaf Square celebrate the first goal by the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Tampa Bay Lightning during first period NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, April 27, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Coincidentally, the last time the Leafs made it to the second round of the playoffs was back in 2004 when they iced out the Senators in Game 7.

That 19-year-drought ended Saturday when the Leafs took the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

The Leafs will have home ice advantage in their second round series against the Panthers, who beat the Boston Bruins in seven games on Sunday.

Game 1 goes Tuesday.

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