The AHL expanded from the East Coast to include a handful of teams along the Pacific this season – and in doing so, helped set a new attendance record across the league.
The AHL announced on Monday afternoon that the minor league recorded a collective 6,693,526 fans in attendance at regular season games this year, which surpasses a record set back in the 2004-05 season. This averaged out to just under 6,000 fans per game – which included an average attendance rate for the Hershey Bears that nearly hit 10,000 per game.
Per the official release on the news, attendance went up 8.6 percent league-wide from last year, and saw nine of the 30 teams surpass the average attendance rate .
It wasn’t just east coast teams boosting the attendance rate, either. The nine teams that surpassed league average attendance included the newly re-formed San Diego Gulls, who sat second in average attendance across the league with 8,675 fans per game, and the Ontario Reign – who play just an hour away from their NHL affiliate, the Kings. The Reign sat fourth in attendance with an average 8,570 fans per game.
This is good news for the AHL teams that are looking to see postseason action, including the Toronto Marlies – who will no longer have to compete with the Toronto Maple Leafs for fan attendance – as the league looks to keep improving attendance and renewing minor league hockey attendance across North America.