SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … In its first season with teams stretching from the easternmost point in North America to the California coast, the American Hockey League celebrated its 80th anniversary by establishing a new attendance record in 2015-16.
An all-time high of 6,693,526 fans attended AHL games during the regular season, which ended Sunday – an average of 5,982 fans per game. Both surpass the previous records set during the 2004-05 season.
“On behalf of the entire American Hockey League, I want to extend thanks to the nearly 6.7 million fans who attended games this season and everyone who supports our teams in 30 cities across North America,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are all looking forward to continuing to provide our fans with exciting and affordable entertainment during the upcoming Calder Cup Playoffs and beyond.”
Nine of the AHL’s 30 teams saw average attendances of more than 7,200 fans per game, with the Hershey Bears (9,790) leading the league for the 10th consecutive season. Attendance league-wide was up 8.6 percent from last year.
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sixteen clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway Wednesday.