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Zeitgeist: Empty U.S. hockey arena to be featured on Canadian money

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Echos from unused seats are music to Canadian ears, says Treasury Minister.

The Canadian ten-dollar note is getting a facelift and will soon include artwork depicting a great source of pride north of the border - an empty NHL arena in the United States.

New bills featuring a photo from a barely watched Florida Panthers-Ottawa Senators game will be rolled out beginning in January, Canadian Treasury Minister the honourable Tony Clement announced today. The photo, originally taken on Monday night by Ottawa Sun sportswriter Bruce Garrioch, shows hundreds of seats in Sunrise, Florida's BB&T Center sitting unoccupied during warm-ups. Most of the seats would remain unused throughout the game, with the club officially stating an attendance of 7,311 people.

The photo combines several elements that Canadians hold dear: their capital city, their hockey teams and an American club having embarrassing attendance figures.

Each empty seat in that photo could be filled with dozens of Canadians in a Canadian city with a Canadian team. It is important that we, as proud Canadians, remember that every time we spend at least $10. - Canadian Treasury Minister Tony Clement.

"This newly updated bill is a testament to Canada's love for hockey and the southern United States' ambivalence towards it," Clement said. "Each empty seat in that photo could be filled with dozens of Canadians in a Canadian city with a Canadian team. It is important that we, as proud Canadians, remember that every time we spend at least $10."

The Panthers have long struggled in the standings and, not surprisingly, at the box office. The team, which has qualified for the playoffs only once since the 1999-2000 season, recently tarped off entire sections to reduce capacity and scaled back on ticket giveaways to entice more season ticket holders. The young Panthers are off to a shaky start this season, and a Monday game versus a non-marquee opponent drew the lowest attendance in the franchise's history.

But Monday's sad showing in Sunrise is a glorious victory for those that want to see the Panthers and other sparsely-attended NHL franchises relocated to Canadian cities that would better support them.

"We will not rest until these teams, left to rot by Americans, are brought back into the waiting, loving embrace of Canadian hockey fans, who will watch any hockey team no matter how bad they are," Clement said. "There is no reason for Panthers games to be empty when there are plenty of people in Salmon Arm, Port Coquitlam and Yellowknife who want to watch live hockey but cannot because the nearest team is in Toronto, Edmonton or Vancouver.

"Let's rip these teams out of big, populated U.S. cities and put them into smaller Canadian ones, where we can spend these new 10-dollar notes and watch our greatest sport together."

Clement also announced that prototypes of the new bills (embedded below) will be put on display at next Wednesday's Maple Leafs-Senators game in Ottawa, which is expected to draw 12,000 Toronto fans and about 7,311 Senators fans to the Canadian Tire Centre.

CanadianArenaMoney

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This is fake. There will be no money anywhere with empty arenas on it and that bill is not legal tender. Please leave home without it.