More than 500 counterfeit Golden Eagles hockey tickets have been accepted at the Salt Palace box office, but that number is only "a drop in the bucket," police say.

"It's pretty scary the dollar figure that's involved. It could be up there quite a ways," said Dale Borg, marketing and sales director for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles. "It's a big nightmare."Borg said it is unknown how long the fake hockey tickets have been printed and sold but said it is possible the counterfeit operation has been going on for years. "Indications are it's been going on for some time."

According to a police report, Golden Eagles officials discovered the fake yellow tickets with red lettering Thursday. The series numbers on the tickets were much higher than those that were legally printed. The numbers were also larger in size than those on the legal tickets.

Each of the counterfeit tickets discovered were medium-priced $8 tickets, Borg said. "As of yesterday afternoon, they had not put any dollar figure on it yet . . . but just with the 500, that's quite substantial," he said.

"It's a pretty serious situation any way you look at it."

Salt Lake police have at least two suspects in the case - including one person who has previously been arrested for printing counterfeit money, according to the report.

Borg said he doesn't expect any more fake tickets to be passed off this year, since the tickets sold for the playoffs are different from the bogus regular-season tickets. The playoffs for the Golden Eagles begin Tuesday.