Tampa Bay Lightning season-ticket holder and Army captain Paul Dhillon complained the Lightning organization was trying to “strong-arm” him into not selling his tickets to Blackhawks fans.
Dhillon, whose season tickets are directly behind the Lightning bench, is unable to attend the Stanley Cup Final games due to being relocated for ROTC duty and wants to sell his tickets on the secondary market. Once the Lightning management found out the Army captain wouldn’t be present for the games, they tried to lock Dhillon’s account and say he can’t sell his tickets.
The Lightning season-ticket holder told the Tampa Bay Times he understands as a Lightning fan, but he can’t control who buys his tickets on StubHub.
I’m willing to comply with any policy they show me in writing but they’re just making up stuff as they go, Dhillon said. I really feel that they’re strong-arming me into complying with what the Lightning want.
Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke said the team was strongly encouraging fans to not sell their tickets on the secondary market to decrease the number of opposing fans, but thought the Lightning organization went too far to stop Dhillon from selling his tickets.
If a gentleman serving our country feels he was slighted, oh my god, we owe him an apology, Leiweke said.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, after the story surfaced about Dhillon’s mistreatment, the Lightning allowed the Army captain to print, transfer or sell his tickets to whomever he wanted to.
Leiwke said he apologized to the Army captain, but he continues to motivate Lightning fans to not sell their tickets to Blackhawks fans because he wants the Amalie Arena to be “home ice.”
Five years ago there was hardly a pulse for this franchise and there were games that were overwhelmed with opposing fans. Fans said to us, ‘fix it,’ Leiweke said. What we’ve tried to do is live up to our pledge to our fans that we’re going to create a great environment. I specifically apologize to this (captain), he said, but I’m not going to apologize for our efforts to make sure this building is our home.
Dhillon won’t be in attendance for Game 5 or 6, and his tickets will be on StubHub. The Army Captain said Leiweke offered to get coffee with him after the season, and Dhillon looks forward to that meeting.