The Stockton Record
STOCKTON, Calif. – There was more than one way to buy a piece of Stockton history on Saturday.
Johnny Rose of Stockton showed up with his children at Stockton Ballpark on a cold and cloudy Saturday morning and bought tickets for the Stockton Thunder’s opening game on Dec. 10 at the new downtown arena. Others decided to stay home and make their purchases on the Internet on the first day individual game tickets were available.
Thunder President Dan Chapman announced the team sold 1,127 tickets on Saturday, exceeding the team’s projection of 1,000. The ultimate goal is to sell out the event, and the team has already sold 2,076 season packages.
Although not every ticket purchased was for the Dec. 10 event, Chapman said the vast majority were for the opener.
“At least 90 percent or more were for the opener, and we knew it would be like that,” Chapman said. “We’re very pleased in the turnout, and I think a lot of people want to come out and see what the team is about and see the new facility on the first night.”
The Thunder brought out its mascot, Thor, to entertain those who waited in line, and Thunder player Tony Johnson was at the ballpark to sign autographs. But most of the sales were made online.
Rose decided to come out and buy the tickets in person. He stood in line with his son, Zachary, 15, and daughter, Emily, 2.
“I’m a hockey fan, and this is going to be great for Stockton,” Rose said. “I wanted to make sure we got tickets. I’m thinking about buying season tickets, but I want to check out how good the environment is at the games for the youngsters.”
Those at the ballpark were split among avid hockey fans and those who wanted to be part of the event.
Patrick Ferguson and Gary Holderbein of Tracy aren’t big hockey fans, but they are willing to learn and want to see the first event at the arena.
“I’ve only been to one hockey game, about 15 years ago, but we’re going to check it out, and I think it’s going to be great,” Ferguson said. “You just want to be a part of a unique thing in our local area. It’s historic.”
While the new arena was a lure for many of the customers, others just want to go see a hockey game.
“The new arena will be beautiful, but for me it’s about hockey,” said Peggy Sage of Stockton. “My kids grew up playing it, and there’s no better sport.”
Chapman said there’s many reasons fans want to show up on Dec. 10, and he hopes it all adds up to 10,000 filled seats.
“I do believe we can sell it out,” Chapman said.