(Reuters) – The Florida Panthers, in a bid to prevent their arena from being overrun by Toronto Maple Leafs fans during their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series, are restricting ticket sales for home games to residents of the United States.
The Maple Leafs are known for having a devoted fan base that regularly shows up in large numbers when the team, one of seven National Hockey League clubs based in Canada, play on the road.
But fans of the Maple Leafs, who are in the second round for the first time since 2004, will now have to seek tickets through the secondary market if they want to cut into the Panthers’ home-ice advantage.
Tickets for the series went on sale on Monday.
An “Important Event Info” notice on Ticketmaster’s website said sales for the games in Sunrise, Florida will be restricted to those living in the United States and that residency will be based on credit card billing address.
“Orders by residents outside of the United States will be canceled without notice and refunds given,” according to a message on Ticketmaster’s website.
Toronto will host the first two games of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday and Thursday before the action shifts to Florida for the next two games.
Florida would also host a potential Game Six.
The Panthers reached the second round of the playoffs by upsetting the top-seeded Boston Bruins in a decisive seventh game on Sunday. The Maple Leafs advanced after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)