1) Let us first excoriate any team that still records attendance figures using the inane terminology of "tickets distributed". That term has never passed the laugh test and never will. It makes one imagine a team simply doling out admission tickets to anyone who passes by on the street corner whether they decide to go or not. The proper manner would be to simply announce the number of people who actually attend the game! Period! We would settle for tickets sold as a second best method, but the distributed nonsense needs to go!
2) Perusing attendance figures for all 30 teams after 35 or so home games some numbers leap up at you:
- The Flyers have nearly 100% attendance(99.0) despite having one of the worst teams in the league and only winning 8 of their 34 home dates. Thus proving Philly is one of the best hockey cities in the U.S.
- Not surprising is that 4 of the top 5 teams were from Canada. Only Edmonton didn't have attendance of 100% capacity or greater(98.5)
- Tampa Bay is at 100% capacity. Despite playing mediocre most of the year, and in one of the least exciting divisions, they have drawn very well. That part of Florida at least has shown they are willing to support their team.
- Now the bad news; The rest of the South East Division is NOT so well off. We particularly have to mention that Carolina and Atlanta are playing to 92 and 86% capacities respectively. The 'Canes are the reigning champs and should be riding that crest to near capacity attendance. If not now, when? Atlanta's situation is even bleaker. Despite leading their division, and having one of the more exciting offensive teams in the league they are struggling at the gate.
- Definitely the worst attendance failures, when compared to their on ice success, have to be the Nashville Predators and the N.J Devils. The Preds have been near the top in all the NHL, all season. They are now a perennial playoff team and yet play to an abysmal 88% capacity, or 21st in the whole NHL. Its looking more and more that hockey is NOT catching on in The Music City. They seem to be the favourite to move in the short term if things don't improve VERY quickly
- The Devils have got to have the WORST fan support of ANY team in the league. Despite being at or near the top in the division/conference. Having 3 Stanley Cups in the last decade or so. Perennially in the post season, they still play before an amazingly atrocious 73.8% capacity!! That's 'good' for 27th. At least the 3 teams below them have an excuse; they haven't even sniffed the playoffs in the last 3 years. The Devils have NO excuse. If they weren't building a brand new arena we'd say their days in the Garden State would be numbered. What remains to be seen is when they build it, will they come?