PRINCETON, N.J. – The 15,573 fans in Cincinnati for Games 1 and 2 of the Kelly Cup Finals is the highest total for the first two games of the finals since 1998 and the fourth-highest total in ECHL postseason history.
The crowd of 8,676 for Game 1 was the largest Kelly Cup Playoffs crowd since 8,834 on May 27, 2001 at South Carolina for the decisive game in the Kelly Cup Finals.
The three largest crowds for the first two games of the ECHL Finals are 18,448 in 1997 at South Carolina, 17,119 at Charlotte in 1996 and 16,307 at Pensacola in 1998.
The total attendance for the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs so far is 297,703 for an average of 3,236 per game. Games 3, 4 and 5 will be played on Thursday, Friday and Monday in Las Vegas where the Wranglers welcomed more than 8,600 the last two games.
Cincinnati is averaging 4,157 per game in the postseason, up 64.8 percent from the regular season when the Cyclones led professional hockey by increasing its attendance 36.8 percent from 2006-07.
The 1997 Kelly Cup Finals hold the record for largest average attendance with 10,770 and largest total attendance with 53,848, including postseason record sellout crowds of 11,800 in Louisiana for Games 3, 4 and 5.
2008 Kelly Cup Finals
Game 1 – Las Vegas 2 at CINCINNATI 4
Game 2 – LAS VEGAS 1 at Cincinnati 0
Game 3 – Thursday, May 29 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas
Game 4 – Friday, May 30 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas
Game 5 – Monday, June 2 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas
Game 6 – Thursday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati *
Game 7 – Saturday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati *
* – If Necessary
Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will play with 24 teams in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 355 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 99 in the last three seasons. There have been 210 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past seven seasons.
There are 15 coaches in the NHL who have ECHL experience including former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and former Mississippi coach Bruce Boudreau, who is head coach of the Washington Capitals.
The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2007-08 and for the past 18 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players. In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.