Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sea Dogs' attendance rises significantly

Back-to-back sellout crowds pushed the Saint John Sea Dogs' average attendance to just over 4,200 fans per game this season.

Saint John's average of 4,201 fans per game was good for third best in the league this year, trailing only Quebec (9,289 with two home games left) and Halifax (6,682 with three home games left). It's just the second time the Sea Dogs have reached the top three in league attendance - mostly thanks to the Moncton Wildcats having one of their worst seasons in history.

More impressive than the final average is how much Saint John's attendance increased compared to last year. The Sea Dogs saw an increase of 572 fans per game on average, which is a significant jump in junior hockey. It's the biggest increase in team history.

Here's a look at Saint John's attendance through the years.

2005-06156,6944,477 (4th)
2006-07134,3543,839 (6th)
2007-08139,2143,978 (5th)
2008-09133,6133,930 (5th)
2009-10140,7794,141 (4th)
2010-11152,2374,478 (4th)
2011-12155,0604,561 (3rd)
2012-13135,7323,992 (4th)
2013-14116,3803,423 (5th)
2014-15121,7823,582 (5th)
2015-16123,3993,629 (4th)
2016-17142,8294,201 (3rd)

This year's average was the highest since 2011-12 when a franchise record 4,561 fans per game watched the Sea Dogs win their third consecutive regular season title.

With a week left in the regular season, the league average is 3,105 fans per game - which should rise given most teams have large crowds for their final few home games. The league average last season was 3,404.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats are having one of their worst seasons ever at the gate - although it will likely be offset by a big increase when their new building opens in 2018-19. In happier news, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan had their best total attendance since 2007-08.

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