PRINCETON, N.J. – Attending her first hockey game on Thursday at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Carol Stuart of Biloxi, Mississippi became the 50 millionth regular season ECHL fan. There have been 50,000,969 fans for 11,146 regular season games in the 16-year history of the ECHL.
The Mississippi organization presented Stuart with a Sea Wolves jersey and season tickets for 2004-05 while the league will award her with two league-wide season passes for 2004-05 and an assortment of league apparel and novelties.
“This is awesome. I thought maybe you did this for every newcomer,” said Stuart after entering to cheers, confetti and balloons and a greeting from Sea Wolves President Bo McMurphy. “I’m definitely a huge fan now.”
Stuart watched the Sea Wolves defeat the Texas Wildcatters 4-2 to improve to 36-19-7 and remain in second place in the Central Division.
“The excitement of an ECHL hockey game is amazing,” said Stuart. “It’s great watching it live.”
The ECHL has drawn over two million fans per year for 12 consecutive seasons and has surpassed three million at the gate each of the past 10 years. The ECHL has drawn over four million fans five times in its history and at its current average will draw 4,260,888 in 2003-04. The league went over the four million mark four consecutive years from 1996-97 to 1999-2000 including a league-high 4,678,087 in 1999-2000.