DETROIT – As a kid, James Liston remembers going to Olympia Stadium with his father to watch his favorite player, Gordie Howe.
As a retiree, Liston now enjoys visiting Joe Louis Arena for several games a season.
What makes it even better for Liston is getting tickets for $9.
"We can afford it," Liston, a Pigeon, Mich. resident, said. "We love sitting near the top and we like the people we sit with. They have a good time up there and everybody’s really friendly.”
This is the third straight year that Liston and his friend, Chris of Berkley, Mich., have come to the Joe Louis Arena box office to buy the special $9 tickets.
Liston said they got tickets for Opening Night Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dec. 14 against the Buffalo Sabres, New Year's Eve against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Feb. 10 against the Ottawa Senators, March 24 against the Montreal Canadiens, March 28 against the Sabres and the last home game of the season, April 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Liston said they arrived a little after 7 a.m. and that the line moved fairly quickly.
"We buy four (per game) because my cousin’s going and two of us and him and he usually brings his son or his daughter," Liston said. "Now he has a partial season tickets. Awesome. So we pick up the other games that he doesn’t have."
Liston said they even enjoy the camaraderie of standing in line with people they've met in previous years.
There were more than a hundred fans standing in line when the ticket windows opened, with some arriving as early as 2:30 a.m.
"We do see a lot of the same faces year after year," director of ticket operations Dave Deckert said. "There’s no question that it’s something that the people look for and look forward to."
The Wings expect to sell out of the $9 tickets fairly quickly.
This is the second straight year that they have sold $9 tickets for every home game.
"(Fans) love the value, they love the opportunity to bring their kids down for a relatively inexpensive night out," Deckert said. "It’s great and it crosses all spans of people. It definitely benefits everybody. It’s been a great tool for us to get into the community and help."
Liston's favorite current player is defenseman Danny DeKeyser and he's looking forward to seeing Dylan Larkin in the near future.
Liston and his group are expecting another playoff season for the Wings.
"I think they’ve got a great mixture," Liston said. "I think what they’ve said is that they’ve got some older guys, middle guys and younger. I think they’re going to be great."