The New Jersey Devils have given fans options if they have tickets to postponed 2019-20 NHL games, ranging from full refunds to ticket donations for front-line workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most NHL teams have opted not to address what fans can do with their tickets to games that were postponed in the NHL's season "pause" for the coronavirus outbreak, preferring to wait until the games are formally canceled or played without fan access this summer. It's expected that if 2019-20 NHL season is restarted, the remainder of regular season games would be played in empty arenas at four centralized sites, rather than at the teams' home arenas.
But the Devils were more proactive. In an email this week, the team offered several options to fans holding tickets to the Devils' postponed seven home games at Prudential Center. Devils spokesperson Pete Albietz said that the emails "are not insinuating that the games are going to be canceled," but are the continuation of the team's correspondence with fans since the pause and a chance to offer them flexibility with their ticket choices.
Options for Devils fans included rolling their season-ticket balance into tickets for next season, and choosing one from the following incentives: parking for 10 home games, $100 toward the Devils Den Team Store, $150 in concession credit, an autographed stick or an upgrade to two all-inclusive club seats for a home game.
Partial season-ticket holders and individual game ticket holders were told that by transferring their "2019-20 postponed game balance" into a Devils ticket account credit, they could earn a "bonus game" that includes four lower-level seats to a 2020-21 game. They also had the option to apply the ticket value to a purchase of season tickets in 2020-21.
The Devils have also given fans a way to donate their tickets. The team will announce this week that they've partnered with RWJBarnabas Health to provide special access for "New Jersey's front-line heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic" by donating 10,000 tickets for the 2020-21 season for their use.
The Devils have been assisting front-line workers throughout the pandemic. Managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer made a six-figure donation to the RWJBarnabas Health Emergency Response Fund for the purchase of critical equipment and supplies. On March 21, the Devils and Prudential Center staff compiled stocked medical supplies, including nearly 7,000 pairs of gloves, 10,000 hand sanitizer units and soap, sprays, wipes and other cleaning supplies for donation to RWJBarnabas Health's network of 13 hospitals and 35,000 system employees across New Jersey.
Members of the team's Black and Red season-ticket holders can help front-line workers as well: For each fan that applies their 2019-20 postponed game balance to a 2020-21 Devils Black and Red Membership renewal payment plan, or to a Devils ticket account credit to be used next season, the team will add an additional pair of tickets to sponsor an RWJBarnabas Health employee and guest for a home game next season.
If fans just want to get their money back for the postponed games, the Devils are allowing them to ask for refunds even though games aren't formally canceled.
Many ticket sellers and third-party ticket brokers are not allowing fans to request refunds until the games are formally cancelled by the NHL. If the tickets were purchased from the Devils, the team is offering refunds.
"For those who would like to receive a refund for the value of postponed games, we can certainly accommodate your request. Please allow up to 30 days from the time of your submission for your refund to be processed and reflected in your personal financial statement," said the email.
Albietz said that a "very small portion of fans have reached out for refunds" during the season pause. He said the team has been communicated with ticket holders regularly, and has a full FAQ for fans with tickets to postponed games on the team's website.