By Dave Eminian
of the Peoria Journal Star
PEORIA, Ill. – The Peoria Rivermen haven’t played a game yet, but they’ve already set a record this season.
The team had sold 2,190 season tickets (1,984 full, 206 partials) as of Tuesday, and that was a record for the team since joining the ECHL in 1996-97.
Peoria’s 22-year record for season ticket sales is 2,407 established heading into the 1992-93 IHL season. But this current Rivermen operation has emerged as a powerhouse not just in the ECHL, but throughout minor-league hockey.
The Rivermen have increased season ticket sales six consecutive seasons. Peoria sold 1,841 full season tickets last season, plus 231 partials.
“We set certain goals, and this year we decided to go for an all-time record,” said Rivermen President John Butler, now in his sixth season. “Our staff has done such a wonderful job, we’ve got 400 new season ticket holders this season. There’s only about four teams in the league that can say that.
“The neat thing about our situation is we’ve got guys who get more excited about the business operations and let the games take care of themselves,” Butler added. “They are driven, marketing-oriented people who just go for it. That, combined with the product Jason Christie and the coaches before him have given us, has been a great sell in this community.”