A sellout crowd in Toledo and the largest opening night crowd and the fourth-largest crowd in team history at Bakersfield highlighted the opening weekend of the ECHL which had 115,588 fans attending 22 games for an average of 5,254, an increase of two percent from last season.
The Storm had a sellout crowd for the third-straight year at historic Toledo Sports Arena on Friday while the Condors had 8,263 fans at 9,000-seat Rabobank Arena. There were four crowds over 7,000 in the ECHL on Saturday with 7,093 watching the Kelly Cup Championship banner-raising ceremony in Trenton, 7,738 at the home opener in South Carolina, 7,218 at the home opener in Dayton and 7,797 in Fresno at Save Mart Center which will host the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game on January 25.
Not included in the opening weekend was perennial attendance leader Florida whose season-opening games against the Las Vegas Wranglers had to be postponed because of Hurricane Wilma.
Newcomers Utah and Phoenix opened with a home-and-home series that saw crowds of more than 5,000 to The ‘E’ Center in West Valley City, Utah on Friday and America West Arena in Phoenix on Saturday. The Idaho Steelheads averaged more than 3,900 at Qwest Arena for a three-game series with Long Beach and the Columbia Inferno had 5,983 for their opener on Friday while Gwinnett had 5,874 for its opener and Greenville drew 5,705 on Saturday.
Las Vegas opens its season on Tuesday when its hosts Utah at the Orleans Arena which had two sellout crowds of 7,773 last year while the Wheeling Nailers will host the Reading Royals and the Stanley Cup on Friday night at WesBanco Arena. The Long Beach Ice Dogs, who saw their average attendance grow by more than 16 percent last season, host the Fresno Falcons on Friday while Reading, which has sold out its home opener each of the last two years, hosts Trenton on Saturday.