About half of the Washington Capitals' 4,200 season ticket-holders availed themselves of the opportunity to receive 20 percent rebates,in accordance with owner Abe Pollin's preseason promise to dissatisfied fans.
Lamont Thomas of the Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Maryland, the man in charge of the rebate operation, said "roughly 2,000" had either phoned or written by the close of business yesterday, deadline for rebate applications.
"The first week or so (after the end of the season), we took a lot of telephone calls and received a lot of letters," Thomas said. "There wasn't much after that. Some people wanted to explain their reasons for calling and several sent two-page letters.
"But no justification was necessary and we were primarily concerned with names and account numbers, so we did not delve into the reasons. However, in most cases the letters noted that carbon copies had ben sent to the Capitals."
A year ago, Pollin announced the rebate plan in hopes of more than doubling season ticket sales, for 4,700 to 10,000. While it created conversation across North America, however, the idea aroused little interest in Washington, and sales actually fell.
Overall attendance for the season slipped 37,857, to 397,007, despite the team's highest point total in its five-year history and indisputable improvement on the ice.
The rebates amounted to $76 on $9.50 seats, $60 on $7.50 seats and $36 on $4.50 seats, and contributed to a deficit that probably approached $1.5 million this year, considering the expensive acquisitions of Ryan Walter, Tim Coulis, Paul Mulvey, Rolf Edberg, Leif Svensson, Dennis Maruk, Gary Inness, Greg Polis, Dennis Hextall and Michel Bergeron, plus the payoff of Coach Tom McVie and the hiring of Danny Belisle.