Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Complaints & Grievances: Ushers At SBP

Now I don't want to get off ona rant here, but it seems like forever now that I've been hearing stories about how quick the ushers are to overreact at Scotiabank Place. I mostly passed it off as fans who probably didn't notice how annoying they were being, or that they had a few too many and were disturbing everyone else. I had often heard that people were being kicked out of the game not for being drunk or cursing, but for simply being loud. Once again, I shrugged it off. I thought to myself, come on, they don't just kick you out for cheering, there's more to the story, there has to be, even if this is happening in Ottawa.

The stories continued. The emails continued, but I kept brushing them off. I had heard the horror stories, but had never seen anything like what was being described, and I've attended pretty much every home game the last 10+ years. I thought people must just be exagerating but the emails and stories continued.

Then within the past few games, I've finally started to see what people have been talking about.

At the Dany Heatley returns game, you could bet that fans were going to be loud, have their signs, and let their anger out. You could also bet that security and the ushers were on edge, hoping that nothing bad happened, which is understandable. In the row in front of me at that game, there were 3 guys, all having beers, and a Heatley Hate sign in their possession. The sign had no bad language on it whatsoever, they weren't yelling or being vulgar at all, and the usher (pictured above) kept coming over to them all game to annoy them. I couldn't believe it. I was 5 feet away and they were doing absolutely nothing wrong, which is what they kept telling her when she kept coming over, about 5 times in total I'd say. They were displaying their sign, but only at stoppages in play and they were not bothering a single person. Eventually she told them if they didn't stop showing the sign they would be removed. They couldn't understand why, and neither could I, but they decided to stop because you don't want to be kicked out when you've paid to be there. It was ridiculous and bordered on harassment.

The next incident happened a game later, and happened to a few guys behind me. They were all in their early to mid 20's and having a good time. Once again, not swearing excessively, but simply cheering and being loud, because you know, it's a hockey game, not a funeral. Were they drinking? Yep, but not excessively, just having a few beers on game night, the way it's supposed to be. Besides, if they really cared that much about people getting drunk at hockey games, they'd stop selling beer. Anyways, they were being loud, passionate fans and I start to notice that the usher (a different one than Heatley story) starts eyeballing them. I thought nothing of it, but she kept looking over, over and over again, for no reason. They were doing what people do at hockey games, cheering, clapping, and the occasional yell for a good or horrible play. She came over and told them to cheer quiter. I was in shock.

The third incident in the past few weeks happened directly to me. I was at the game with my pops, watching the Sens and Rangers. Now keep in mind I'm with my dad. Neither of us are huge drinkers, especially at the game, and I had not one sip of alcohol all night. I'm also not a huge yeller at the games either. I'm not that loud mouth fan that goes on and on all night. Me and my father were simply having a discussion in normal voices about the game while it was on. You know, simple stuff like Alfie sure is quiet tonight, nice save there by Leclaire, man Kuba sucks, etc etc. We're enjoying the game, when out of nowhere, the lady in front of me (she was probably around 55) turns around and says excuse me, could you keep it down, I can hear your conversation. I was in such shock that I didn't even know what to say to her. It took me 5 seconds to even process that she told me to keep it down when I was just having a normal conversation about THE GAME WE WERE AT! I mean who says that? And take this with total offense if you're one of these people at hockey games who says that to other fans, because you're not on your couch in your living room, you're at an NHL game with 18k+ other fans. If you want quite, go to the library or stay home. Now I wanted to give her a piece of my mind and let her have it, but she was an old lady, so I thought I'd be the bigger person and behave. Even worse, at intermission, she said something to the old lady usher about me, and the usher apologized to her. I couldn't believe it.

Well Sens fans who have been complaining for years, I have finally seen the light and something needs to be done. With our dwindling performance and attendance, the Senators need to make big changes, and not just with our team, but with the way SBP is presented and how the fans are treated. The atmosphere needs to improve and not in a few years, or next year, but now. There aren't enough people who want to pay to attend games right now, for cranky old ushers to have the gaul to piss fans off, especially when they haven't done anything.

Now before you say Mayor, not all ushers are bad, you're absolutely right. There are some excellent ones, who remember regular customers names, who know how to handle things properly, and those who let fans have a good time if they are behaving appropriately. In fact, shoutout to Carmen in Sec 224, who is a longtime usher and is awesome and my personal favorite. She's always friendly and does her job to perfection. She knows how to walk the line of letting people have fun, but has the backbone to not let them act a fool either. Most importantly, she doesn't have a quick trigger finger and actually uses common sense.

Now I'm not the type of person who only complains and offers no solutions to the problem. That would be a jerk move. And I don't wanna target a certain type of person, but the ushers need to be younger, or at least have a certain pro fun mentality. Look around SBP next time you're there, the average usher is usually a woman and in her mid to late 40's to early 50's. How does that make any kind of sense? Of course someone that age is going to have different standards/tolerance levels than someone who's 25-35. And sometimes that's a good thing, but not at a hockey game. Would you want your 45-55 year old parents in charge of fun at your birthday party or event? Because I sure wouldn't, and my parent are super chill for parents.

Perhaps the Sens need to visit the Bell Centre, where most of the ushers tend to be attractive women in their early 20's. It just creates a more pleasant environment for everyone, which is partly to do with why the Bell Centre is fairly usually at the top of the list of stadiums to see a game in the NHL. And it's not even about their looks to be honest, it's about their attitudes. They're there to encourage fun, not ruin it, like most of the ushers in Ottawa.

Will there be any changes to the usher situation at SBP? I really doubt it. This organization moves at a snails pace, actually that's too kind. What's slower than a snail? Whatever it is, that's what they are. They still haven't even tried to fix the parking problem in 14 years. I mean how is that even possible? How do you make zero progress on a massive reason why people don't want to come to SBP?

Their slogan claims fans first, well the time has come to put your money where your mouth is.

Remember, I criticize because I care.

If you have any horror stories, post them in the comment section. The more there are, the bigger chance we can affect some changes.

Thoughts?

48 comments:

SENSaholic said...

This is your BEST post to date!!

This needs to be spread to every Ottawa medium somehow

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with this post. The atmosphere at SBP is dreadful. I had a friend with me at the game last year and the usher asked her to stop cheering because she was too loud!!! WTF. At a game this year, the person next to me complained to the usher that a fan in our section was too loud. The usher threatened to kick the guy out... basically for having a good time. Meanwhile, the person who complained left the game with 10 minutes left in the 3rd.

Anonymous said...

No wonder we're a laughing stock of the league. This is all 100000% true. Old ladies do not = fun

mayor for running game day operations, you have my vote

Anonymous said...

im Totally with you on that post ! The last game i have a chance to go it was against the oilers 3 weeks ago , And we were trying to cheers a lil bit but in the section we were sitting '103' the people were so quiet it was boring ...So i don't know why probably just because i was so freakin bored lol I started screaming Go CUT YOUR HAIR YOU FKIN HIPPY to a oilers players and you know what 30 sec after The '' Guard'' told me to keep it quiet lol ...i Was so piss-off !!

Killer Carlson said...

Ushers are the same at the American Airlines Center down here in dallas. It is amazing how sterile an environment it is. Many of my friends call the arena "The Library." You guys in Ottawa are lucky, you complain about attendance issues, but there are still over 18K people at your games. Dallas has seen attendance #'s around 5-10K regularly this season.



I work for a minor league hockey team in the Fort Worth area where we dont have any USHERS! We have an arena with 2500 seats if you count the suites. We have people we call ushers, but all they really do is tear ticket stubs. We want a rowdy environment at our games, gives our players a boost. 2500 people can sound like 20K when you allow them to all have cowbells, airhorns, and bang on anything they want. We let people bang on the glass all they want. many people use pucks or mini sticks to bang on the glass. Some guys in the fan club section have drums, and there is always a vouvazella or three somewhere in the crowd. Our arena is the smallest in the league, but the hardest to play in becaus the crowd noise is so deafening.

Imagine if Ottawa allowed fans to be so loud and rowdy? You think the team might respond and play a little harder? You think it would be hard to concentrate if your the opposition trying to fight through non stop air horns, cowbells and nonsense?

Chad
Texas Brahmas Hockey Club

Anonymous said...

You have some pull with the Sens organization don't you? Why not let them know how the ushers are treating the fans?

SENSaholic said...

@Anonymous

"CUT YOUR HAIR YOU FKIN HIPPY"

I encourage yelling and cheering, but i do admit that swearing isnt cool.. there are kids there after all.. unless the whole crowd is chants "AssssssssHooooooole!" (they didnt even do that for Heatley btw)

The Mayor said...

DO I have pull with the Sens? I dont know, a bit i suppose, but nothing major, more like contacts within, but if i had the ability to change anything i would believe me.

I would LOVE to be in charge of game day opps and marketing for the Sens, id change it all up.

Our whole set up is wrong.

Spread the word everyone.

Anonymous said...

good post!

ive been thinking the same thing for years, in fact it stops me from going to games sometimes.

why bother handing over $50 or $75 or $100+ to be hassled when you havent even done anything.

couldnt agree more that sens org needs to make big changes.

the need some fresh blood and ideas in there.

Chico said...

a truer post has never been written

Sens Dude said...

solid i hate sbp ushers too they suck

Anonymous said...

this is what happens when you give soccer moms any power, they abuse it to the utmost. Ive seen this type of thing happen all the time over the years. Time for a change indeed.

Anonymous said...

Finally someone says it. This has been a long time coming...hopefully someone with the Sens takes notice that the fans are tired of this

Anonymous said...

fire cyril leeder, hire the mayor!

Anonymous said...

thought this was gonna be about the singer, super disappointed lol

Anonymous said...

^^^^^^ Let it burn

Anonymous said...

bravo couldnt say it better myself

phil said...

you've actually pointed out a major societal flaw here. the problem with this city is not thugs, yuppies, minorities, homeless people, government employees, crackheads, or even hipsters - it's middle-aged women.

here's the solution i prefer..

4 words: 'Three Hundreds, Top Row'

rosie said...

A++++++ for this one mayor

Anonymous said...

god i hate soccer moms pissing on everyones fun parade

Anonymous said...

god i hate Ottawa sometimes, a select few make an entire fanbase and city look bad

good job mayr

Anonymous said...

ushers ran away with a beach ball during the AC/DC concert like it was a bomb. idiots.
was also told to leave our seats 1 minute after the 3 stars were announced. it was -20 and not in rush to leave with the concourse filled and 30 minutes in a parking lot. she came back 1 minute!! later and at that time i told her off and filed a complaint to Sens and SBP, which nothing happened.
this was 3 guys, no drinking, having a quiet conversation 2 to 5 minutes after the final whistle of a game we each paid $150 to go to.

this "power trip" mentality needs to stop, as it's very noticeable that people keep their distance from ushers now. only in Ottawa...

Anonymous said...

welcome to ottawa, where ushers think their the show haha

Anonymous said...

the 50 yr old women ushers in the 300's are almot as funny as they 100lb female secuirty guards employed at scotiabank, pathetic fail

sooooooooooo intimidating lmao

Anonymous said...

the senators need someone more like you who knows what the fans want

jerry said...

the sens are regularly are the lowest for season tix in canada, with customer service like this i can see why

Anonymous said...

love coming to the site for humor posts, but when you rant and write serious piece is when youre at your best

The Mayor said...

wow thanks for all the feedback everyone and for all the compliments

Seems this is an issue everyone is passionate about in a huge way

Perhaps the Sens should have a few sections reserved for all the people who want to be quiet so they arent annoyed by anyone breathing

Keep the stories and comments coming, i love all the dope feedback

we can make the changes we want happen

Anonymous said...

You should fire off a copy of this column to all the head honchos at SBP including all the sponsors and the head bean himself Mr Melnyk.

Anonymous said...

im not surprised, the sens fail at everything they try

they could mess up literally anything

Anonymous said...

heard a similar story on Sens underground podcast tonight which is insane

The Sens need to fix this

Tokyo Mike said...

these kind of stories makes me glad i moved to japan

Anonymous said...

Screw the Sens, they treat their fans like jokes they will not be getting a cent from me ever again until major major changes are made, clean house im tired of the same old crap year after year and im hardly alone as you can see

thanks for writing this

chucky said...

we want change and we want them now

Anonymous said...

Scotibank Place, the place fun forgot

Anonymous said...

fire murray fire clouston fire leeder fire everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

your best post ever congrats

Anonymous said...

i hope you have some sort of connection to the Snes organization so you can pass along all this hate for them

theyre stupid policies make us look stupid around the league

Anonymous said...

give them shit from us mayor

Anonymous said...

ahl teams have a bigger clue then these bozos

Anonymous said...

i was going to buy some sens tix for xmas for some relatives but after hearing this my money could be spent 100 better diff ways

AlfieGirl said...

I'll admit that I have a tendency to yell really loudly when I'm at the game. Last game I went to (Sens-Thrashers last week), I got looks from a couple of people in my section, but the usher didn't seem to mind and I've sat with her before. I've been told once on the bus that my normal volume conversation had been very annoying, but I chalk that up to a grumpy old man who (I was told by another passenger) does it all the time.

I've never had complaints from fans or ushers - if anything, they're usually amused by me heckling (or I don't notice the dirty looks). But if I get told to keep it down, you can bet your bottom dollar that my account manager will be getting an angry message.

whalethewise said...

All Ushers should look like this girl that sells beer in 300 level! Beautiful blond in good shape :) Bring it on Sens :)

John said...

Game 4, Stanley Cup Finals. Me and a buddy sitting in Section 2xx, Row A. We have a pretty huge Sens flag that we're waving around during stoppages in play, and allowing it to hang over the rail for the rest of the game. The usher harrassed us for the entire 2nd period, and threatened to kick us out. The logic was that sponsors would complain that our flag was covering their logo. Looking around the arena, there were hundreds of other flags doing the same thing AND it's the F'N Stanley Cup Finals, are you kidding me?! We absolutely lost it on the usher (who was a 50+ yr old female, for the record). Other fans in our section were shaking their heads in disgust. In fact, two different groups of people bough my buddy and I 2 rounds of beers because they felt so bad for us.

This is disgusting. We paid well over $200/ticket to watch our Sens in a Final! I'm not normally one to label or generalize, but the truth is what it is...out with the middle aged, miserable old women, and in with the high energy SENS fans to usher our games - men or women, they HAVE to be fans of the team and the game.

Ben said...

I don't doubt the stories being posted about the ushers are true, but for what it's worth, I've never had any issues with them. I've been to playoff games, games against the Habs and Leafs, the recent Heatley game, where the crowd was enthusiastic and loud, and I never witnessed anything like what's been described, nor has any usher approached me asking me to keep it down. Maybe it's just a handful of them that's the problem.

SENSaholic said...

This is the kind of post that needs to be sent to the SENS organization, or the SBP people, but we need to have a lot more voices heard for any changes to happen..

Anyone who reads this, needs to forward this to others, be it through email, facebook, twitter, etc.. Im in no way affiliated with SensTown, but this story hits close to home, and something has to be done..

My most recent experience with bad Ushers:
The SJ game, i was sitting in 100's with a buddy, and 2 rows behind us were 2 of our other friends.. Now, there were two empty seats right beside us the whole 1st and halfway through the 2nd period, so instead of yelling 2 rows back to our friends (and annoying fans), we told them to come down and sit beside us.. they did, then the usher came and gave all of us shit for trying to get them to move down two rows.. TWO ROWS!! so we can sit together.. eventually with 10 mins to go in the 3rd, he let them sit with us. I still dont understand the reason for not letting them come. If the other people showed up, they wouldve gladly gotten up and went all the way back to their seats.. a whole 2 f'n rows.. LOSERS!

Anonymous said...

I've never experienced what others here have, but I've heard the stories too. There will always be a few that reflect badly on the entire organization.

@John - although I don't agree with the way you were dealt with, read the rules when you purchase a ticket - also available on the SBP website - "Banners can neither cover any advertising or building signs, nor can they compete with existing building signs and advertising and they must not be attached to the building in any manner"

Anonymous said...

Great points raised, and great article. One hundred percent agree.