Thursday, December 19, 2013

A look at WHL attendance figures

F Sean O'Connor (Moose Jaw, 1999-2002) has signed with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL) for the rest of this season. He had been released two weeks ago by Red Bull Munich (Germany, DEL). He had six points, five of them goals, in 13 games with Red Bull. O’Connor has dual Canadian-German citizenship, so doesn’t count as an import.
Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports takes a look right here at the WHL’s suspensions to Portland Winterhawks F Brendan Leipsic, who got seven games, and Vancouver Giants D Dalton Thrower, who got two. . . . If you haven’t seen either incident, there is video here.
The Brandon Wheat Kings will recall three players next week to help get them through the post-Christmas roster crunch. . . . F Nolan Patrick and F Tanner Kaspick, both 15, and F Duncan Campbell, 17, will join the Wheat Kings on Dec. 26 and could play against the visiting Regina Pats on Dec. 27. . . . Campbell has 55 points, including 24 goals, leads the Manitoba Midget AAA League in scoring with the midget Wheat Kings. . . . Kaspick, taken in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft, has 38 points, 16 of them goals, with the Wheat Kings and is third in the scoring race. . . . Patrick, the fourth overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft, has 31 points, including 14 goals, in 22 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. . . . Brandon is without F Richard Nejezchleb, who is with the Czech Republic’s national junior team, while F Braylon Shmyr and F Jesse Gabrielle will play for Team Pacific at the U17 World Hockey Challenge in Cape Breton.
USA Hockey has its winter meetings scheduled for Orlando, Fla., Jan. 16-19. Jeff Z. Klein of The New York Times reports right here that USA Hockey’s board of directors “will consider a proposal . . . to ban fighting from all levels of amateur hockey in the United States.”
With the carnage continuing on an almost nightly basis in the NHL, Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun writes right here that it’s time to start taking “the coach’s lunch money, too. Sit him out for the repeated sins of his players.”
The Swift Current Broncos dropped a 4-3 OT decision to the visiting Victoria Royals before 1,777 fans a week ago.
Later that night, Brad Brown of the Prairie Post tweeted that the game “was the worst-attended in almost six years — hasn’t been that empty since Jan. 8, 2008, vs. P.A.”
(Brown later columnized on the issue. That column is right here. One of the things that he points out is that attendance is down for 50 of the 60 teams that operate under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League.)
Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Broncos, chimed in with: “Pretty sparse crowd again tonight I have to say. How good/exciting a home team do the Broncos have to be to get some support here?”
According to figures compiled at, the Broncos’ attendance is down 5.4 per cent after 19 home games.
In fact, according to, only one of the WHL’s 22 teams has shown an increase in attendance over last season. That team is the Portland Winterhawks, who are averaging 6,970 fans after 16 games, an increase of 4.2 per cent over last season.
Attendance in the WHL, in its entirety, is down 12.9 per cent at the Christmas break.
Here, then, is a team-by-team look at attendance in the WHL, with all numbers from
BRANDON: Through 17 home games, The Wheat Kings are averaging 3,548 fans per game, a decrease of 6.3 per cent over last season. And last season’s attendance was down 8.6 per cent from 2011-12.
MOOSE JAW: The Warriors have played 20 homes games, with an average attendance of 3,599. That is down 5.6 per cent. Last season’s average (3,814) was down 2.2 per cent from 2011-12.
PRINCE ALBERT: Through 19 home games, the Raiders are averaging 2,433 fans per game, a decrease of 9.0 per cent over last season. The attendance last season was up 10.2 per cent from 2011-12.
REGINA: The Pats have played only 13 homes games and they are drawing 3,726 fans per game, down 12.2 per cent over last season. In 2012-13, their attendance was up 2.8 per cent over the previous season.
SASKATOON: The Blades’ average attendance is 4,400 through 16 games. That is down 27.2 per cent from last season’s average of 6,040. That was up 19.7 per cent from 2011-12.
SWIFT CURRENT: The Broncos have played 19 home games and are averaging 2,061 fans, down 5.4 per cent from last season. That was down 1.2 per cent from 2011-12.
CALGARY: The Hitmen have played 20 home games and are showing an average attendance of 7,708, which is down 17.1 per cent from last season’s average of 9,300. The attendance then was up 3.6 per cent from 2011-12.
EDMONTON: The Oil Kings’ attendance is down 21.2 per cent from last season. This season’s average through 17 home games is 5,972, down from 7,575 last season when attendance was up 18.0 per cent from 2011-12.
KOOTENAY: Through 20 home games, the Ice is averaging 2,193 fans, a decrease of 9.0 per cent from last season. In 2012-13, the Ice averaged 2,411 fans per game, down 14.0 per cent from the 2011-12 avearage of 2,805.
LETHBRIDGE: The Hurricanes have averaged 2,940 fans through 21 home games, and that’s a decrease of 19.5 per cent from last season. They averaged 3,650 fans per game in 2012-13, an increase of 11.2 per cent from 2011-12.
MEDICINE HAT: The Tigers have sold out all 16 of their home games, meaning the average attendance is 4,006, as it has been for each of the last several seasons.
RED DEER: Attendance at the Rebels’ 17 home games is averaging 4,797, down 7.3 per cent from last season. That average (5,175) was up 6.5 per cent from 2011-12.
KAMLOOPS: In 19 games, Kamloops is averaging 4,011 fans, a decrease of 16.9 per cent. Last season’s average, 4,825, was up 15.5 per cent over 2011-12.
KELOWNA: The Rockets have played 17 home games and are averaging 5,026 fans per game, down 6.2 per cent. Last season, the Rockets averaged 5,358 per game, a decrease of 11.9 per cent from 2011-12 when that number was 6,082.
PRINCE GEORGE: Through 18 games, the Cougars are averaging 1,638 fans, down 11.0 per cent. Last season, attendance was down 10.1 per cent from the 2,047 average of 2011-12.
VANCOUVER: The Giants’ average attendance, through 16 games, is down 17.6 per cent, from 7,205 to 5,936. Last season’s figure was up 3.8 per cent from 2011-12.
VICTORIA: The Royals have played 20 home games and the average crowd is 4,263, down 17.8 per cent from last season’s average (5,189). That was down 8.3 per cent from the 5,660 of 2011-12.
EVERETT: The Silvertips, through 18 home games, are averaging 4,494 fans, a decrease of 11.2 per cent from last season. The figure from last season, 5,062, was down 4.1 per cent from 2011-12.
PORTLAND: The Winterhawks have played 16 home games and are averaging 6,970 fans per game. That’s up 4.2 per cent over last season, which was up 10.1 per cent over the 6,075 average from 2011-12.
SEATTLE: Through 17 home games, the Thunderbirds, who play out of Kent, Wash., are averaging 3,887 fans, down 3.7 per cent from last season. In 2012-13, they average 4,036, and that was down 4.0 per cent from 2011-12.
SPOKANE: The Chiefs have played 18 home games, with an average crowd of 5,529. That’s a decrease of 13.2 per cent over last season’s 6,368. Last season’s figure was down 1.2 per cent from 2011-12.
TRI-CITY: The Americans are averaging 4,015 fans through 18 games. That’s down 10.7 per cent from last season, which was down 3.4 per cent from the 4,653 average of 2011-12.

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