The ECHL had a strong opening weekend at the box office, as the 21 games on the schedule attracted an average of 5,265 fans, marking the fourth consecutive year that the League has averaged 5,000 fans per game for the first weekend of the season.
The Indy Fuel hosted the first professional hockey game in Indianapolis in over a decade on Friday, and welcomed a capacity crowd to the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum as 6,477 fans were in attendance to witness a shootout against Fort Wayne. Watch video of the Fuel’s pre-game ceremonies by clicking here.
Fort Wayne welcomed the largest crowd of the weekend as 8,788 fans were in attendance on Saturday against Indy. The Komets finished second in the ECHL in attendance last season after leading the league in their first season in 2012-13.
Evansville welcomed 8,738 fans for its first home game on Saturday against Gwinnett. The IceMen have drawn over 8,700 for each of their three home openers in the ECHL, and last season ranked fifth in the league with an average of 5,369 per game.
Orlando, which will host the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic at Amway Center on Jan. 21, 2015, had 8,297 fans on Saturday against Greenville. The Solar Bears have exceeded 8,000 fans for their first home in each of their three seasons of existence.
The Toledo Walleye, who will host the first two outdoor games in ECHL history during the holidays, had a sell-out crowd of 8,000 fans at Huntington Center on Saturday, marking the sixth straight season that Toledo has had a sell-out crowd for its first home game of the season.
Utah had its largest opening crowd since joining the ECHL in 2005-06 on Friday as the Grizzlies welcomed 7,961 fans to Maverik Center, an increase of over 100 fans from last season, and the fourth straight season that the club’s opening attendance has increased.
Wheeling saw the largest increase from last season as a crowd of 4,754 was on hand on Saturday against Reading, an improvement of 25.7 percent over last season. It was the Nailers’ largest crowd for a home opener since the 2004-05 season.
Idaho had an 18.7 percent increase over last season’s opening crowd as 4,923 fans were in attendance on Saturday against Utah. It was the largest crowd for a Steelheads’ home opener since the 2008-09 season.
Florida opened its season on Friday with 5,855 fans against South Carolina. The Everblades have had over 5,000 fans for each of their 17 seasons.