Gulls, Checkers Openers Draw Over 21,000

The San Diego Gulls had a team record standing-room-only crowd of 13,001 for their home opener on Saturday and the Charlotte Checkers had 8,317 for their first game in the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena on Sunday giving the ECHL an average of 4,216 per game through the first three weeks of the season.

The 13,001 is the largest ECHL crowd in the last three years and the fourth crowd of more than 10,000 that San Diego has had in the last two years, including 11,922 for its season opener last season when the Gulls increased their average attendance by almost 13 percent. The new arena in Charlotte has a listed capacity of 6,800 for Checkers games, but additional sections can be opened to accommodate larger crowds.

The Victoria Salmon Kings will play their first game at the 7,000-seat Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Thursday when they host the Stockton Thunder, who will open the new Stockton Arena on December 10 when they host Phoenix.

The first 23 home openers have drawn 141,053 for an average of 6,133. Included in the home openers is a sellout crowd at the Toledo Sports Arena, a crowd of more than 8,000 in Bakersfield and more than 7,000 in Dayton, Fresno, Reading, South Carolina and Trenton.