West Kelowna resident Ben Orritt was unable to attend his first-ever Vancouver Canucks game in January because of “surprise” COVID-19 ticket cancellations. (Photo courtesy of Ben Orritt)

West Kelowna resident Ben Orritt was unable to attend his first-ever Vancouver Canucks game in January because of “surprise” COVID-19 ticket cancellations. (Photo courtesy of Ben Orritt)

West Kelowna man denied refund on Canucks tickets after ‘surprise’ COVID-19 cancellations

Ben Orritt was hoping to take his family to Vancouver in January to attend their first game

A messy situation that involves hockey, an independent ticketing company and COVID-19 capacity restrictions cost a West Kelowna man an opportunity to watch his beloved Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena in January.

It wasn’t just the live hockey experience that was lost, though — it was almost $700.

Ben Orritt was a hero to his children in November when he purchased four tickets to a Jan. 23 Canucks game against the St. Louis Blues.

Both his son and daughter have never been to a Canucks game — the same can be said for Orritt, who’s called himself a passionate fan of the team since he was a little boy, despite never making it to a live game.

The date was set and a family dream was finally going to come true.

But a surge in COVID-19 cases across B.C. amid the Omicron variant put doubt in the head of Orritt, who received an email two weeks before the game saying his tickets were no longer valid due to capacity restrictions imposed at Rogers Arena.

The father of two may have been disappointed, but he wasn’t angry. Orritt received an email from the Canucks stating a full refund would be on its way within 30 days.

When he did get angry, though, was when it was said one night before the game that he wouldn’t get a refund from an independent resale company called Ticket-Centre.

“The argument from the ticking company is that the game wasn’t cancelled and still went on, so they’re not giving any refunds,” Orritt explained.

“And I told them that my tickets weren’t selected (under the capacity restrictions) but they said that they don’t do refunds, period.”

A live customer service conversation outlining a ticketing company’s resistance in providing a West Kelowna man with a refund worth almost $700. (Photo: Ben Orritt)

A live customer service conversation outlining a ticketing company’s resistance in providing a West Kelowna man with a refund worth almost $700. (Photo: Ben Orritt)

At this point, Orritt believed his tickets didn’t make the cut under the imposed restrictions in Vancouver. What he would learn later, however, was that his stubs were valid the entire time and he and his family could have indeed attended the Jan. 23 game.

“Someone from the Canucks’ season-ticket staff later admitted to me that the email I received about my tickets not making the capacity cut was a mistake,” Orritt claimed. “The email said I didn’t make the cut but in actuality, I did.”

Canucks staff would later work on fixing the problem themselves but without any success due to the independent ticketers’ alleged “no-refund” policy.

The team’s accountability in the situation was appreciated by Orritt — the same wasn’t said about the people who he purchased his tickets from.

“I don’t have a beef with the Canucks,” he stated. “I have a beef with Ticket-Centre.”

The four tickets cost a total of over $500 CAD before being converted to USD by the ticketing company, prompting Orritt to dish out almost $700.

Despite saying a full refund would be sent to the West Kelowna man, the Canucks were unable to provide the money because the tickets weren’t purchased directly through the team.

And as of March 26, he still hasn’t received his money.

Orritt still remembers spending June of 1994 with his parents watching the Canucks’ thrilling run to the Stanley Cup Finals and then again in 2011, only months after his daughter was born.

His dream of taking his children to a Canucks still hasn’t come true but in the words of the West Kelowna man, “there’s always next year.”

Black Press Media reached out to Ticket-Centre about the matter this week but has not received a response.

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@lgllockhart
logan.lockhart@pentictonwesternnews.com

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