An avid hockey card collector and die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan from Thunder Bay, Ontario will be attending Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Montreal Monday as one of the winners of the grand prize in the Tim Hortons Collect to Win contest that was held during the Upper Deck Tim Hortons hockey card promotion in late 2020.
Jeff Murray of Thunder Bay, Ontario is an avid hockey collector and Montreal Canadiens fan. His man cave boasts jerseys, autographs and his card collection. He was the winner of a trip to the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals, but because of COVID-19 restrictions still in place in Canada, it was looking like Murray’s dream of seeing his favorite team play in a Stanley Cup finals game was going to slip through the five hole.
During the Collect to Win program, registered Tims Rewards members were able play on the Tim Hortons app and have a chance to win prizes with every eligible purchase of a pack of Upper Deck Tim Hortons cards, including a free hot beverage, $50 Tim Cards, NHL LIVE subscriptions, free coffee for a year, a trip for two to the Stanley Cup Final, or a VIP trip for two to watch an NHL game and meet Sidney Crosby.
Murray was one of five winners of the trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions still in place in the province of Quebec, only 3,500 fans are allowed to see each game in the Bell Centre. Tim Hortons offered replacement prizes of a trip to the 2022 NHL All-Star Game in place of the trip to the finals, but Murray would not accept the alternative.
“This is one of those things you would like to do in your life,” Murray told CTV News in an interview, adding it was a “dream” to go to see his beloved Canadiens in the finals. Montreal has not played for a Stanley Cup since beating Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. “For me to go to a Stanley Cup final, this would be pretty much the only chance I would ever have.”
Thunder Bay, a city on the north shore of Lake Superior in western Ontario, is closer to Winnipeg and Minneapolis as far as NHL markets go. The Bell Centre is a 995-mile trip from downtown Thunder Bay. Getting to a Habs game for a fan in that locale is not easy.
Last week, Murray was offered tickets to Game 6 of the Tampa Bay-Montreal series. However, with Tampa Bay leading the series 3-0, it looked doubtful that the series would reach six games.
As of Sunday, tickets for Game 4 of the series are selling in the $30,000 CDN range, which is about $23,000 USD. Murray could not understand why Tim Hortons would not be able to secure tickets to the game.
CTV News, one of Canada’s major national news networks, contacted Tim Hortons to find out what had happened. According to CTV, within a day, Murray had two tickets to the game. Tim Hortons, the official quick service restaurant of the NHL in Canada, was able to obtain a pair of tickets through the NHL.
Murray, speaking on CTV News Sunday morning, was grateful.
“Thank you CTV and Tim Hortons for coming through,” Murray said. “You made two people’s lives much better today.”