I'm not happy about it, but I understand. They valued the amount of food on the tickets as $40 per ticket per game. So they gave the option at the end of last season for this year:
1) Pay the same amount and get $40/ticket, loaded on your ticket, that can be used for anything in the arena (any food anywhere or merchandise).
2) Take $40/ticket off the price of your ticket.
I took option 2.
Now here's a bit of the rub. They did NOT say they would be changing the food in the ice lounge, and jacking prices up to go with it. I assumed that it was going to be the same burger, hotdog, chicken fingers/fries and pizza, along with sushi and maybe some other "special". That's what it was during the pre-season. Average food product was $7.00 or so. Instead, they eliminated all of that (so really - no kid friendly food in the ice lounge) and replaced it with a more gourmet selection where the average food item is $14.00.
The motivation for the team was two fold.
1) They needed to make the lounge seats less expensive face value tickets. In years past, they had all you can eat food caked in and needed to charge $240/ticket. You just will not get that for Ottawa in the middle of January on a Wednesday night. That's why, short of the corporate (or wealthy) season ticket holders, you saw the lounge seats about 1/2 full. So by removing the food option from the face, they can now sell at $160 face ticket for a weak game and that's a bit more palatable.
2) They had so much waste with the food in the lounge that they were giving away money. By improving the food (it's better but lets not go crazy - it's not Dinosaur BBQ, let alone BLT Prime), they were able to charge significantly more and bring in extra revenue.
We have very savvy businessmen as owners of this team now - they improved a 7 year old arena with millions of dollars of investment. There are certainly kinks they have to work out. Lines got long all over and the concessions weren't quite ready. But they'll get there. The food in the arena has already gotten very good reviews. The game experience is better with the 3D intro and around the building.