The 2012-13 AHL season is still in it’s infancy, but that’s more than you can say about the locked-out NHL. Alex Ovechkin thinks the KHL is the best league currently playing, but the AHL is the top North American league until the lockout ends.
That might be the primary reason why the AHL has enjoyed a moderate boost in attendance over the first week of its season, according to Postmedia News.
“We were up five per cent,” said AHL president Dave Andrews. “Clearly, we’ve had far more exposure than we normally have from the main-stream hockey media and, if the quality of your league in enhanced, more people attend the games. There’s about 100 players in our league now who would have been on an NHL roster at the start of the season.”
Andrews believes that fans who come to watch some of the NHL’s top young talent play will “realize the league is pretty good even without those 100 guys.”
He also thinks that some time in the AHL could benefit guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, just as it did for Eric Staal and Jason Spezza when they spent a year in the minors during the 2004-05 lockout.