The Florida Everblades welcomed their largest crowd of the season on March 19 as 7,344 fans watched Florida take on South Carolina at Germain Arena. In only two home games this week, the Everblades had nearly 14,000 fans in attendance to see the team split the series with their division-rival Stingrays.
Charlotte also collected their fifth sellout of the year with 6,898 in attendance to see the Checkers defeat Trenton 4-3 on March 19 while Ontario surpassed the 200,000-fan mark with more than 21,000 fans attending their three-game series against the National Conference leading Idaho Steelheads.
To purchase tickets for any ECHL game go to ECHL.com/tickets.shtml.
The third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the ECHL is the only minor professional hockey league to increase average attendance each of the last two seasons. The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League has averaged more than 4,000 fans each of the last five seasons and 17 times in the last 19 years while drawing more than 3 million fans for 16 straight seasons.
Six returning teams are ahead of their average attendance from 2008-09 led by Cincinnati with 19.6 percent. The Cyclones led minor professional hockey with a 36 percent increase in 2007-08 and ranked second a year ago with a 23 percent increase.
Elmira has raised its average 10.1 percent to 3,332 per game which is 88.1 percent of capacity at First Arena. The Jackals have had 31 sellouts since joining the ECHL five years ago which tied for the league lead.
Following Elmira is Utah, which has raised its average attendance by 9.1 percent to 3,988 per game; Kalamazoo raised their average attendance to 3,472 and is up 8.8 percent. Ontario rounds out the top five with an increase of 7 percent and leads the league with an average of 6,263 fans per game with three home games left in the regular season. Charlotte’s sellout on March 19 – their only home game this week – helped the team jump to 5,449 fans per game, an increase of 2.6 percent from last season.
Toledo is second in the league with 6,225 fans per game, while Stockton is third with 5,925. Charlotte is fourth with 5,449 and Florida rounds out the top five with 5,368 per game. The Thunder have led the league in attendance each of their first four seasons and are trying to tie the league record of five seasons set by Florida from 2000-05.