At the official half-way point of the Abbotsford Canucks 2022-23 home schedule, the team is averaging 4,983 fans.
Friday’s (Jan. 20) home game against the Calgary Wranglers marked the Canucks’ 18th out of 36 home games at the Abbotsford Centre this season and the team ranks 15th for attendance in the 32-team American Hockey League.
The club averaged 4,292 in the 2021-22 season, but many of those games were held under 50 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions. The majority of games also saw fans have to show a vaccine pass in order to gain entry into the building. None of those restrictions apply this season.
Attendance is also up significantly from the Abbotsford Heat – the building’s previous AHL tenant. The Heat had years of 3,897, 3,807, 3,545, 3,778 and 3,007 during its time (2009 to 2014) at the AC. The capacity for hockey at the AC is 7,046.
Looking at the Abbotsford numbers, the home opener on Oct. 28 against the San Diego Gulls drew a franchise record 6,519. The Dec. 3 game against the Laval Rocket also had a large crowd of 6,407. The team also crossed the 6,000 mark on Jan. 7 vs. the Henderson Silver Knights with 6,023.
The low mark occurred on Nov. 29 against the Bakersfield Condors with 3,896.
One other pertinent point is that the City of Abbotsford receives revenue sharing if the team averages 5,000 or more tickets sold per game. While the average is currently under that mark, with playoffs looming and more important games on the horizon it is expected that the 5,000 threshold will likely be met.
The Cleveland Monsters are averaging the highest attendance this season, bringing in 8,545 fans per game. The Monsters home arena, which is also the home of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, offers 9,447 seats for hockey and can expand to 18,926.
The other teams in the top five include: the Hershey Bears (8,314), Chicago Wolves (7,728), Grand Rapids Griffins (7,054) and the Ontario Reign (6,938).
Abbotsford ranks second amongst all Canadian markets and is only behind the Laval Rocket (6,862). The other Canadian teams average attendances include: Toronto Marlies (4,507), Manitoba Moose (3,653), Calgary Wranglers (3,479) and Belleville Senators (2,378).
The San Jose Barracuda rank 32nd and are averaging 2,078 fans per game so far this season.
The remainder of the schedule for Abbotsford sees three more home games in January, four in February, six in March and five in April. Playoffs typically begin in late-April or early-May.