Five Teams Over 7,000
For ECHL Opening Weekend

Opening night crowds of more than 7,000 fans in Gwinnett, Dayton, Bakersfield and South Carolina, 8,723 in Stockton and a sellout in Idaho helped the ECHL average 4,927 per game for opening weekend.

South Carolina had the second-largest opening night with 7,962 followed by Bakersfield with 7,914, Dayton with 7,680 and Gwinnett 7,027.

Florida had a near sellout with 6,943 for opening night and is averaging 6,418 per game while Alaska is averaging 4,901 after its first two games.

Idaho had a sellout on opening night for the second straight season with 5,133 while Elmira had 3,632 for its opener. Idaho has had a league-leading 39 sellouts in the last six seasons while Elmira led the league as an expansion team in 2007-08 with 14 sellouts.

Phoenix is averaging 3,517 after its first three games, up from 3,347 a year ago, while Augusta had 3,588 for its opening night and Wheeling welcomed 3,502.

Las Vegas will raise its National Conference championship banner at its home opener against Ontario on Thursday while Friday will be opening night in Fresno, Mississippi, Utah and Victoria. Fresno, which moves back downtown to Selland Arena, had the largest crowd in the league last season with 12,590 while Mississippi had its largest attendance since 2001-02 a year ago. Victoria, which will raise its West Division championship banner on Friday, set team records in 2007-08 with 175,354 fans and 4,871 per game while having the second-highest attendance increase with 14.7 percent.

Saturday will feature the raising of the Kelly Cup championship banner in Cincinnati, the first game at the new Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario and opening night in Reading which will host the ECHL All-Star Game at the Sovereign Center on Jan. 21, 2009. Cincinnati led professional hockey with a 36.8 percent attendance increase in the regular season a year ago. The Cyclones had a team record crowd of 9,615 for their last regular season home game and a league record crowd of 12,722 for their Kelly Cup clinching game. Ontario has strong season tickets for its first season while Reading has averaged 5,000 per game in each of its first seven seasons.

Stockton has had 12 sellouts and has led the league in attendance the last three seasons, becoming the first team since Florida from 2000-05 to lead the league three consecutive years. Florida has finished first or second in attendance the last eight seasons and has never finished lower than third in 10 years.