Today, the Sens sent out the renewal emails to season ticket holders for the 2013-2014 season. One of my favourite perks of being a season seat holder is being able to meet the players, whether it be the prospects during the summer development camp, or at the season ticket holder open house at the start of the season.
I've been a season seat holder since the start of the 2010-2011 season, where I began with a 10 game package, working my way up to a half season in 2011-2012, and finally to a full season this year.
In the 2010-2011 season, the benefits you received were solely based on the type of package you had (i.e. club, full, half, or flex). I couldn't find the link for the benefits in this season, but they were similar to the ones in 2007-2008.
The primary benefits I got with my 10 game package (as did every other type of season seat holder) was a Daniel Alfredsson 1000th game print as well as invitations to the season seat holder open house event at the start of the season. I should note that since I signed up at the start of the season, the 2010 development camp in the summer had already passed, so I'm unsure of what perk season ticket holders got for that. Also of note, is iirc, club full season seat owners (i.e. the most expensive seats) were given the benefit of meeting Daniel Alfredsson at a seperate event.
The 2010-2011 season seat holder open house was a great event. They had players spread throughout the arena in the suites in the 100 and 200 level from 6:00-8:00 and everyone was free to visit any player they wanted to get autographs/pictures. So people had the choice to visit a lot of less popular players who would have the smaller lines or a few of the more popular players with longer lines. That year, they also provided a list of players as soon as you entered the arena. They were: Milan Michalek, Derek Smith, Ryan Shannon, Brian Elliott, Corey Cowick, Pascal Leclaire, Bobby Butler, Jason Spezza, Matt Carkner, Brian Lee, Filip Kuba, Jarkko Ruutu, Zack Smith, Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, Peter Regin, Roman Wick, Chris Kelly, Nick Foligno, Erik Karlsson, Jesse Winchester, and Chris Campoli. A fair crop of players, I was able to meet Shannon, Elliott, Cowick, Butler, Carkner, Lee, and Smith in the two hour time frame.
Fast forward to the 2011-2012 season. Because I renewed my season tickets I was invited to the Sens development camp at the Bell Sensplex during the summer to watch a scrimmage with other season ticket holders. Afterwards, in the fieldhouse of the Sensplex there was a Q/A with management & coaches followed by an autograph session where you had the opportunity to get every prospects' autograph if you were quick enough (they were all there for an hour, spread out into tables of four/five).
The 2011-2012 season also brought the introduction of VIP flexible benefits, where one could now choose the benefits he/she preferred. Depending on your season seat location and tenure, you were given a set amount of platinum, gold, silver, and bronze points as seen in the link below.
Even with the cheapest season seat package, you were given one silver and four bronze points. The majority would use one of the bronze points on the season-seat owner open house which was no longer automatically included as it was in the previous season. In addition, another bronze point benefit that offered the chance to meet a player was the family skate for four, which allowed you to skate on the SBP ice for an hour where a player would be present as well (note: this perk never happened because of scheduling issues, I've been told it's going to be re-scheduled later this current season).
For the 2011-2012 season seat owner open house, the original email invitation (if you selected the perk) mentioned the chance to meet only one player in your designated line which was given to you in the email. Upon arriving that day, I found out my line had Filip Kuba! Of course many in my line were not too impressed, with one woman stating within earshot of Kuba "Kuba, are you kidding me, my husband hates him!" However, Sens employees let people know that you could jump into any line you wished. In addition they mentioned all of the prospects at the training camp were available in other sections in the arena. They also explained how players would be rotated in 30 minute shifts for the two hour event. This allowed them to offer a huge slew of players (although only the Sens employees were provided with the list for some reason). The noticeable absentees from the list were Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza. Not everyone was informed about this though, so many people left after meeting only a player or two. Nevertheless, in the two hours I got to meet Milan Michalek, Stephane Da Costa, Shane Prince, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, David Dziurzynski, Mark Borowiecki, Kaspars Daugavins, Eric Gryba, Filip Kuba, Corey Locke, Mark Parrish, Bobby Raymond, Nikita Filatov, Mika Zibanejad, Peter Regin, Colin Greening, Erik Condra, David Rundblad, Robin Lehner, Stefan Noesen, Jordan Fransoo, Matt Puempel, Louie Caporusso, Andre Petersson, Wacey Hamilton, Brian Stewart, Max Gratchev, Patrick Cannone, Mike McKenna, Francis Lessard, and Zenon Konopka. Obviously a heck of a lot more players than last season. Although a major factor is the casual fan probably had no clue who a lot of these guys were at the time and therefore didn't care to meet them.
On to the 2012-2013 season, once again was invited to the Bell Sensplex during the summer of 2012 to attend the training camp scrimmage along with the autograph session for season seat holders. Exact same format as the year before which was fun. This season, they switched up the VIP benefits though. Depending on your seat location and tenure you were given an amount of points as seen in the link below:
At worst, if you had the cheapest package with only a year of tenure, you would be given 250 points which really doesn't let you get much. However, this season, the season-seat owner open house was automatically included in every season package.
Because of the lockout, the season-seat owner open house was organized last minute. This season's event was different in that you were allowed a total of 4 people, and for every two people you had, you would get one scratch card. This scratch card was valid for two people to get a photo/autograph from the player revealed. The players included for this event were Chris Phillips, Kyle Turris, Jared Cowen, Zack Smith, Erik Condra, Mark Borowiecki, Daniel Alfredsson, Marc Methot, Craig Anderson, Colin Greening, Robin Lehner, Milan Michalek, Sergei Gonchar, Guillaume Latendresse, Jakob Silfverberg, Jim O'Brien, Peter Regin, Ben Bishop, Jason Spezza, Chris Neil, and Erik Karlsson. It was cool to see that they brought out all the big guns including the captain and everyone had the random chance to meet any of them. Of course some would get disappointed landing maybe say O'Brien while others got Alfredsson. After the event, I discovered that some players' lines were rather small and the Sens ushers began to allow anyone to meet said players without a scratch card. Of course this probably didn't apply for the big names (Spezza, Alfie, and EK). For a last minute event it was organized well and I got lucky and landed Alfredsson on my scratch card. Nevertheless, it was nowhere near as good as the two previous years where everyone was able to meet multiple players with ease.
Now as mentioned, I just received my renewal email for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. They also released the VIP benefit list: http://neweratickets-t.neolane.net/res/net/663dcd393c366a31809918709ed3b396.pdf
It is similar to the previous 2012-2013 season, except for the noticeable addition of both the prospect event at the Bell Sensplex and the season ticket holder open house both requiring the spending of points to attend. The worst part is, a large majority will only be able to attend one of the two events, unless they invest in more expensive seats as shown in the images below. It may just be me, but after enduring a lockout shortened season, I feel like every season ticket holder should have been given the chance to attend both of these events. It seems only allowing the richer season seat holders a chance to attend both these events (after allowing any season seat owner the chance in previous years) isn't exactly the best way to apologize to all your loyal season seat owners after a lockout.
Edit: In addition, the variety of perks you could select has gone down every season if you take a look at the links provided in the article.