Aces, Gladiators Help Increase Attendance

Back-to-back standing-room-only crowds in Alaska and a record crowd of 8,586 for the home opener in Gwinnett on Friday allowed the ECHL to continue its strong start at the turnstile. Alaska’s crowd of 6,453 for its home opener on Friday is the largest in the 10-year history of the Aces, who last had back-to-back sellouts in 1999.

In its first 25 home openers, the ECHL is averaging 6,045 per game and has had eight sellouts compared to six sellouts in the first two weekends in 2003-04. In addition to Alaska, home openers produced record sellout crowds in Columbia (6,231), Reading (7,248) and Toledo (5,361) as well as the seventh-largest crowd in San Diego history (11,922) and the largest season-opening crowd in 23 years of professional hockey in Peoria (7,593). Home openers played Friday and Saturday were Atlantic City (4,486), Charlotte (7,311), Dayton (5,118), Pensacola (4,004), Texas (5,084) and Wheeling (4,754).

The ECHL has drawn 270,138 for 57 games, an average of 4,739 per game which is up almost 13 percent from last season when the league averaged 4,199 per game in the first two weeks.

Las Vegas will host Long Beach for its home opener on Tuesday while Louisiana will host Pensacola for its home opener on Saturday. In 2003-04, the Wranglers had 7,208 for their home opener while Louisiana had 6,025.