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AHL attendance up as the lockout drags on

Oct 19, 2012, 8:10 PM EDT

Eberle-RNH

The 2012-13 AHL season is still in it’s infancy, but that’s more than you can say about the locked-out NHL. Alex Ovechkin thinks the KHL is the best league currently playing, but the AHL is the top North American league until the lockout ends.

That might be the primary reason why the AHL has enjoyed a moderate boost in attendance over the first week of its season, according to Postmedia News.

“We were up five per cent,” said AHL president Dave Andrews. “Clearly, we’ve had far more exposure than we normally have from the main-stream hockey media and, if the quality of your league in enhanced, more people attend the games. There’s about 100 players in our league now who would have been on an NHL roster at the start of the season.”

Andrews believes that fans who come to watch some of the NHL’s top young talent play will “realize the league is pretty good even without those 100 guys.”

He also thinks that some time in the AHL could benefit guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, just as it did for Eric Staal and Jason Spezza when they spent a year in the minors during the 2004-05 lockout.

  1. williplett - Oct 20, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    The other day, when two PHT writers got on me for my comments about a non-hockey story, all I was really saying was that PHT needed to step up their coverage of the AHL. There are well over 100 NHL caliber players currently playing there-some playing their first professional games-and since the NHL has decided to lock out the players, it only seems reasonable that the their coverage of the league should increase.

    If the season is cancelled by Gary and the owners, this league will become the top professional league in North America. Why doesn’t PHT cover it that way? Who knows when or if the NHL season will take place? How about more news on the minor league where many of the would be rookies of the NHL are scoring their first points as pros?

  2. manchestermiracle - Oct 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    This is one of the stats the NHL is using in their strategy: That fans will come back whenever they finally decide to have a season. The AHL is the NHL’s minor league. Supporting the AHL supports the NHL. I’m sure they’re projecting the 5% attendance increase across their media platforms in assuming fans will immediately pay to watch and attend NHL games once they come back, particularly in markets where there is no AHL franchise.

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