by Patrick Hoffman on 11/12/08 at 12:30 AM ET
For a person that has seen many, many National Hockey League games, it will probably come as a surprise to some of you that I had never been to an American Hockey League (AHL) game before, especially since I live within 150 minutes of two American Hockey League franchises: the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers farm team) and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders farm team).
As I mentioned this past weekend, that all changed on Saturday night when I went to the XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center) to take in a Wolf Pack vs. Springfield Falcons (Edmonton Oilers farm team) game. However, as you also all know, I wasn’t able to enjoy the game from a fan’s perspective.
Instead, I got to enjoy it as a credentialed member of the media, covering the game for the Wolf Pack web site and boy was the game ever good. This game had it all: speed, great puck movement, solid goaltending, a fight, and hard hitting. All in all, it was just as good as an NHL game.
So my question is: Why aren’t fans going to see more AHL games?
A lot of teams in the AHL play in huge arenas and yet, according to the AHL(s as of Saturday night), the Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) had the highest attendance average with 8,742 and the Lowell Devils (New Jersey Devils) averaged 1,844.
Why aren’t people going to these games when it is one of the highest levels of hockey around? Right off the bat, I can think of two benefits of attending an AHL game.
First off, most AHL ticket prices are low. Hockey fans can go to an AHL game for $15-$25 a pop and for that price, you get a lot for your money. You get to see a high-level of hockey, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house and lastly, you get to see future NHL youngsters. Look at what the AHL did for players like Marc-Andre Fleury, Corey Perry, Mike Green, Jaroslav Halak, Dan Girardi, etc. The list could go on and on when it comes to players who have benefited from playing in the AHL.
Secondly, it’s family friendly. A lot of the teams have giveaway nights, mascots for the kiddies, good ticket package offerings and more importantly, it’s a good way to see your first hockey game before going to an NHL game.
Remember folks, the NHL isn’t the only league out there. Yes, it’s the best league in the world filled with lots of stars, great arenas and is obviously the highest level of competitive hockey on the planet.
With that said though, the AHL isn’t too far behind!
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: corey+perry, dan+girardi, hartford+wolf+pack, hershey+bears, jaroslav+halak, lowell+devils, marc-andre+fleury, mike+green, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, springfield+falcons, washington+capitals
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.