NHL Hockey News
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.
The Washington Capitals won the President’s Trophy for leading the NHL’s regular season standings after the 2015/16 campaign wrapped up on April 10th. The Capitals finished the season as the top team in the Metropolitan Division, Eastern Conference and the league with 120 points from a record of 56-18-8 in 82 games. The Capitals posted a record 29-8-4 at home and went a club-record 27-10-4 on the road. They scored 252 goals and allowed 192 against for a league-best difference of plus-59. The Dallas Stars had the next best record with 109 points and the St. Louis Blues posted 107 points.
The biggest sports headlines in Canada recently have all been related to the fact that all seven of the nation’s NHL teams have missed out on the 2015/16 playoffs. This is the first time the country’s clubs have been shut out from the postseason since the 1969/70 term. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs were the only two Canadian franchises in the 12-team league back then though and eight of the 12 clubs made the postseason. Today there are seven Canadian teams, Toronto, Montreal, the Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. There are now 30 clubs in the league with 16 of them making the playoffs.
The average NHL arena holds between 18,000 and 21,000 for a hockey game, so the league feels it’s hit the jackpot by selling as many as 100,000 tickets at once for its outdoor contests. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently announced that the league would be holding another four games outdoors in 2017. The league set a record for attendance back on January 1 of 2014 when 105,491 fans showed up at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan to see the Toronto Maple Leafs edge the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout.
The previous attendance record of 71,217 was set six years earlier when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The four games in the 2016/17 campaign, which is the NHL’s 100th anniversary season, will be named the Heritage Classic, the Centennial Classic, the Stadium Series and the Winter Classic. The first game will actually take place on Sunday, October 23rd of this year when the weather can still be relatively warm.
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- April 26th, 2016
American Hockey League sets new attendance record
- April 12th, 2016
Washington Capitals end NHL regular season as the league’s best
- April 4th, 2016
All seven Canadian NHL clubs fail to make the playoffs
- March 21st, 2016
NHL schedules another four outdoor games for 2017
- March 14th, 2016
Arizona Coyotes’ Jarred Tinordi suspended 20 games
- March 14th, 2016
Dennis Wideman’s 20-game NHL ban reduced to 10 after he serves 19 of them
- March 7th, 2016
Jaromir Jagr becomes NHL’s third all-time leading scorer
- March 2nd, 2016
NHL Trade Deadline comes and goes
- February 15th, 2016
Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere sets NHL rookie record
- February 9th, 2016
Los Angeles to host 2017 NHL All Star Game