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The Toronto Maple Leafs have iced some brutal NHL teams over the years, but fans would always flock to the arena and overpay for tickets. However, the club’s recent lack of success if finally hitting them where it hurts, which is in the pocket book. Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) never had to worry how bad the on-ice product was as they’d sell out their home games regardless. That trend recently came to an end tough in late March.
The official attendance at the Leafs game against the Minnesota Wild was listed at 18,366. However, there were thousands of empty seats as this figure refers to tickets sold rather than how many fans bothered to show up. Of course, with fewer tickets being sold it mean the Air Canada Centre will be selling fewer $15 beers, $12 hot dogs and $5 bottles of water etc. In fact, this was the lowest official attendance sine the Leafs moved into their new rink 16 years ago. The official capacity of the arena is 19,800, but this is often higher due to the luxury suites.
According to Forbes magazine, Major League Baseball clubs have risen in value by an incredible 48 per cent over the past 12 months. The latest survey shows that the average worth of a major league ball club is now $1.2 billion each. This of course is the biggest increase since Forbes started tracking team values back in 1998. Last year there were five clubs worth at least $1 billion and this year there’s a record 15 of them with the New York Yankees leading the way at $3.2 billion.
The Ottawa Senators found themselves in need of a goalie on January 29 and called up Andrew Hammond from the Binghamton Senators of the AHL. Little did the NHL cub know that it would be their most influential transaction of the season. Hammond was needed to back up Robin Lehner as the regular starter Craig Anderson was sidelined with a hand injury.
The 27-year-old Hammond played his first game for the Senators on February 16 after sitting on the bench for the first nine contests. The undrafted goalie took over in net when Lehner was concussed in the second period after teammate Clarke MacArthur ran into him. Hammond had played 25 games in the AHL this season and had a 3.51 goals-against average and a saver percentage of 89.8. When he entered the goal crease the Senators were nine points back of the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) announced on March 26 that it will be expanding to Minnesota for the 2018 season. The franchise is owned by a local ownership consortium which is headed by Dr. Bill McGuire and the club will play out of a new soccer stadium which will be located in downtown Minneapolis. Don Garber, the commissioner of MLS, said he’s happy to have Minnesota join the league since the ownership group is committed to both the community and the sport of soccer. He added that Minnesota’s growing population has a rich tradition of supporting all levels of soccer and he believes it’s an excellent market for a new team.
Forward Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers moved into fifth place on the all-time NHL goal scoring list on March 19 when he found the back of the net in a game against the Detroit Red Wings at home at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The goal was the 718th of his illustrious career and it saw him leapfrog over Phil Esposito, who had 717. Jagr scored the first goal of the game at the 10:55 mark of the second period when he beat goaltender Petr Mrazek with a wrist shot fired from the left faceoff circle.
It was the 13th goal of the season for the native of the Czech Republic and his second with the Panthers since being traded there by the New Jersey Devils back on February 26th. Jagr is now 13 goals back of Marcel Dionne for the fourth-most goals in NHL history as Dionne retired with 731 under his belt. There’s no doubt the 43-year-old Jagr would be higher up the list if he didn’t leave the NHL for three years a few seasons ago.
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