Family-friendly NHL charges $400 for baby seat

usaid-cashA pair of Manitoba parents are in a fight with the National Hockey League over their breastfeeding baby.

Clifford Anderson and Shalyn Meady have already spent $800 on two seats for this year’s Heritage Classic.

The dispute comes as the NHL is using the occasion of its private World Cup of Hockey to run ads on Rogers Sportsnet proclaiming that its players “are playing for the world. Next they will be playing for you.” The tournament is widely perceived to be a “cash grab” and a power grab – a substitute for participation in the Winter Olympics.

But Anderson says the NHL has said if they want to bring their six-month-old son, William, to the outdoor hockey game this October, they’ll have to pony up an extra $400 for a third seat.

The couple don’t believe they should have to buy another ticket for a baby who can’t even sit on his own yet.

They say they are being put in the position of either coughing up the extra cash or not going at all, and they think that’s wrong.

NHL officials did not respond to a request by CTV News for a comment.

“‘Everyone needs a ticket; everyone needs a seat,’ is what they said,” says Anderson. “Including babies.”

“Even for moms that formula feed, they should be able to hang out with their baby and go to a family event like this if it’s their choice,” says Meady. “There’s a lot of people who don’t want to bring their babies, and that’s fine, too, but this is something we want to do as a family. I think there should be an option.”

At regular Winnipeg Jets games, children under two get in for free while at Winnipeg Blue Bombers games, kids under three don’t need their own ticket.

Jets officials say the Heritage Classic is run by the NHL, so they’re the ones who set the rules.

“We’re good parents,” says Anderson. “We know there’s going to be loud noise, so we bring headphones for him. We know it’s going to be cold, so he wears a jacket.”

Meady says money aside, she wants to see young families given the option to be active parents.

“I think it’s time for that stigma to end, that moms should stay home.”

The couple has turned down offers of financial help to pay for William’s seat, saying it’s a matter of principle and they want to see the policy changed.

With a file from Canadian Press, CTV

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