With the recent financial problems experienced by several NHL teams this season, most notably, the Phoenix Coyotes, the Atlanta Thrashers, the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars, I decided to have a look at the league attendance since the 2004-05 lock-out, to see if the attendance woes of certain teams are only one-year aberrations or a constant problem over the past few years.
The numbers in bold indicate the team’s best season attendance-wise.
NHL attendance since the lock-out (Downloadable Excel format)
Below you will find the team ranking by division:
4. Maple Leafs
2. Red Wings
25. Blue Jackets
Conclusions: All Canadian cities fare very well, five of them ranking in the top-seven teams in attendance, with the exception of the Edmonton Oilers, mainly because Rexall Place has a seating capacity of only 16,839 fans (albeit each game has been sold-out since the lock-out). Rexall Place, built in 1974, is also the third oldest arena only behind the Madison Square Garden and the Nassau Veterans Coliseum. Thus, the need to build a new facility in Edmonton.
Among the Sunbelt cities, only the Tampa Bay Lightning, the San Jose Sharks, the Dallas Stars and the Los Angeles Kings rank in the top fifteen teams in attendance since the lock-out.
Unsurprisingly, the New York Islanders, the Phoenix Coyotes, the Atlanta Thrashers, the Nashville Predators and the Florida Panthers are among the worst in attendance. Each of these teams has had moderate success on the ice since the lock-out, having problems qualifying for the playoffs.
The only exception being the New Jersey Devils, ranked 27th in the league despite being perennial playoffs team since the lock-out thanks to Martin Brodeur, among others.
Eight NHL teams are having their best season so far at the gates, such as the Nashville Predators, whose attendance numbers have improved by more than a thousand so far this year. Teams with ownership uncertainty like the Dallas Stars, have experienced the biggest drop in attendance this year, a drop of almost 3,000 fans per game.
Finally, only three teams have had an average attendance below 80% of their arena’s capacity since the lock-out. Without much surprise, these teams are the Islanders, the Coyotes and the Thrashers, three of the most unstable NHL organizations these past recent years.
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Filed Under: Anaheim Ducks • Boston Bruins • Buffalo Sabres • Calgary Flames • Carolina Hurricanes • Chicago Blackhawks • Colorado Avalanche • Columbus Blue Jackets • Dallas Stars • Detroit Red Wings • Edmonton Oilers • Featured • Florida Panthers • Los Angeles Kings • Minnesota Wild • Montreal Canadiens • Nashville Predators • New Jersey Devils • New York Islanders • New York Rangers • NHL • NHL Teams • Ottawa Senators • Philadelphia Flyers • Phoenix Coyotes • Pittsburgh Penguins • San Jose Sharks • St. Louis Blues • Tampa Bay Lightning • Toronto Maple Leafs • Vancouver Canucks • Washington Capitals • Winnipeg Jets
About the Author: Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 33, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish. http://twitter.com/FredPoulin98 www.traductions-quebec.com