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American Hockey League sets new attendance record – SportsUntapped.com
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Added April 26th, 2016 by Ian

American Hockey League sets new attendance record
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The American Hockey League (AHL) set a new attendance record in the just completed 2015/16 regular season. The 30-team league is based in Canada and the U.S. and is a developmental league for the NHL with each club being affiliated with an NHL franchise. There are just three Canadian-based clubs with the other 27 being spread out from coast to coast across America with five of the teams being located in the non-traditional ice hockey state of California.

The good news for the league of course is that it’s attracting fans across the continent at a record rate as the AHL announced that a grand total of 6,693,526 spectators attended games this season. This surpasses the league’s old attendance record which was previously set in the 2004/05 campaign. The average attendance for each of the AHL’s contests in 2015/16 was close to 6,000, which isn’t bad for minor league hockey, especially considering that seven AHL clubs relocated to new cities this season. The Hershey Bears, who are affiliated with the Washington Capitals and play at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, led the way with an average crowd of about 10,000 per game. The Bears have now led the league in attendance for 10 straight years.

According to the AHL, the league-wide attendance figures rose 8.6 per cent this year compared to last season and nine of the clubs surpassed the league’s average attendance numbers. One of those nine clubs was the California-based San Diego Gulls which is the farm team of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. The Gulls finished second highest in the league when it came to average attendance as the team pulled in an average of 8,675 fans for each home game. In addition another California club, the Ontario Reign, who are affiliated with the Los Angeles Kings, ranked fourth in total attendance with an average of 8,570 spectators per home outing.

The AHL is now entering the postseason and attendance is expected to remain just as strong throughout the playoffs. Also, a team such as the Toronto Marlies may see its attendance soar at its home rink the Ricoh Coliseum since the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t make playoffs. Ironically, the Maple Leafs finished dead last in 30th place in the NHL this season while their farm team the Marlies finished as the top team in the AHL. If Toronto fans still want to see professional hockey this spring they’ll have to follow the Marlies in their attempt to win the league championship known as the Calder Cup.

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