ECHL Attendance Over 4 Million
For Fourth Straight Year

Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Outdraws WNBA, AFL, MLS, NLL, af2

PRINCETON, N.J. – For the fourth straight year and the 10th time in the last 11 years, the ECHL had more than four million fans attend its games in 2006-07 and averaged 4,101 fans per game.

The total attendance for the regular season and the Kelly Cup Playoffs is twice as many fans as the total attendance for the WNBA, Arena Football League and Major League Soccer and four times greater than total attendance for both the National Lacrosse League and af2.

The combined total attendance for minor league professional hockey, consisting of the ECHL, the American Hockey League, the Central Hockey League, the United Hockey League and the Southern Professional Hockey League, in 2006-07 was 13,981,652 million fans during the regular season, far outpacing all other minor league sports with the exception of baseball. By comparison in 2006 MLS had attendance of 2,059,093, which is 51.3 percent of the total ECHL attendance, while the WNBA was 1,806,362 and the AFL was 1,782,475.

League Total Attendance
ECHL 4,013,749 (2006-07)
Major League Soccer 2,059,093 (2006 Regular Season)
WNBA 1,806,362 (2006 Regular Season)
Arena Football League 1,782,475 (2006 Regular Season)
National Lacrosse League 1,037,147 (2006 Regular Season)
af2 922,079 (2006 Regular Season)
National Basketball Developmental League 580,459 (2006 Regular Season)
Major Indoor Soccer 426,328 (2006 Regular Season)
Continental Basketball Association 198,950 (2006 Regular Season)

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08, the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

There have been more than 66 million fans who have attended over 15,000 games since the ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states. The league has grown into a coast-to-coast league that will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08, including the Mississippi (Biloxi) Sea Wolves, who return after missing two seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the expansion Elmira (New York) Jackals.

Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary Season will be Oct. 18 when the Johnstown Chiefs host the Wheeling Nailers at Cambria County War Memorial where the Chiefs have played every game since the ECHL began. The game is a rematch of Game 7 from the first-ever ECHL Finals which were played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cambria County War Memorial. The two teams will wear throwback jerseys for the Opening Day game that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast worldwide on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL”. The remaining teams will open their seasons the weekend of Oct. 19-21.

Johnstown had its largest attendance since 1997-98 and raising its average by 6.5 percent, the fourth-largest increase in the league. The Chiefs had a sellout crowd of 4,136 on New Year’s Eve and their second sellout of the season with 4,021 on Feb. 28.

For the first time since 1998-99 the ECHL had 10 teams that averaged more than 5,000 fans per game in 2006-07 led by Stockton and Florida, who had the two highest average attendances since 2000-01. Fourteen of the 22 returning teams raised their attendance from 2005-06 as the league had 35 sellouts for the fourth year in a row.

Stockton became the first team other than Florida to lead the league in attendance two years in a row since Louisiana from 1995-99. The Thunder raised their average attendance by 6.5 percent to 6,780 per game and had three sellouts at Stockton Arena, which will host the ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 23, 2008. Florida raised its average to 6,248 per game and has not averaged less than 6,200 per game in their first nine seasons, including leading the league a record five years in a row from 2000-05.

Fresno had the largest attendance increase of any team with 12.7 percent to 5,116 per game and Utah averaged 4,223 per game up almost nine percent, the second-largest increase among teams.

The ECHL is the primary resource for player development as evidenced by the fact that in the last five seasons there have been more players called up from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call ups involving more than 1,000 players.

The ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07, marking the 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. There have been 329 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 26 in 2006-07. There have been 184 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 107 former ECHL players have skated in the NHL this season. More than 100 players under contract to NHL teams have played in the ECHL this season.

The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.

The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.

ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08, including the Mississippi (Biloxi) Sea Wolves, who return after missing two seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary Season will be Oct. 18 when the Johnstown Chiefs host the Wheeling Nailers at Cambria County War Memorial. The game is a rematch of Game 7 from the first-ever ECHL Finals played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cambria County War Memorial. The two teams will wear throwback jerseys for the Opening Day game that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast worldwide on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL”. The remaining teams will open their seasons the weekend of Oct. 19-21.

There have been 329 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 26 in 2006-07. There have been 184 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 107 former ECHL players have skated in the NHL this season. More than 100 players under contract to NHL teams have played in the ECHL this season. The ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07, marking the 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.

The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.

In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players.

In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.

Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.