Beyond charities and overseas leagues, there’s an obvious benefactor from the lockout: the American Hockey League.
That impact hasn’t been lost on AHL players and team owners, according to this lengthy story from The Associated Press.
” … I certainly think that there’s more of an emphasis on the American Hockey League now across the board,” Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon said. “People are realizing just how good this league is, and now that they’re seeing it, the players are probably feeling a real sense of pride playing in this league. We’ve always been the second-best league in the world.”
“Now, more people know that we are.”
The AP rolls out some specifics about attendance so far this season:
At midweek, overall attendance in the 30-team AHL stood at 970,416 after 184 games, an average of 5,274 per game. Five clubs were averaging more than 7,000 and another 10 were surpassing 5,000 nightly. Hershey led with an average attendance of 8,684 in six home games, while Syracuse had attracted 5,440 per game for the first four home dates, ahead of 2011-12.
Crunch forward (and Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder) Brett Connolly spoke about playing under the shadow of the lockout after appearing in 68 NHL games last season.
” … Obviously, the NHL is on a lot of people’s minds, but it can’t be because you don’t know when it’s going to start again,” Connolly said. “If it’s locked out for the whole season, we’ve got a team here that can repeat. There’s a lot of positive things.”
Especially if you’re running an AHL team.