It’s Finals time in the NHL, AHL and ECHL and I have been amazed by the crowds being generated throughout hockey. It’s great to see the game flourishing in so many places.
Here in the AHL, Manitoba and Hershey I am sure will set a league record for attendance, especially if the series goes the distance. After just two games in Manitoba, the average attendance has been nearly 15,000 per game and, as the series moves to Hershey this weekend, I would expect sellout crowds at the Giant Center. I expect that series to be a long one as those two teams are pretty evenly matched.
Down the ECHL, South Carolina and Alaska (nice travel there) are playing each other and attendance has been near capacity in North Charleston and Anchorage.
And, of course, the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh and Detroit are doing great business in the building, on television and even outside the building as hundreds of fans watched Game 3 in Pittsburgh outside of the Mellon Arena on big screens. It looked like a great party. I even saw a few guys who carried a couch over and watched the game in style.
There have been some fun ties to Milwaukee around the NHL lately. Ray Shero, someone that I have great respect for, is the GM of the Penguins and has done a masterful job of putting a great team around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Ray was responsible for putting together Admirals rosters a few years ago, including the Calder Cup teams in 2003-04 and 2005-06 when he was the assistant GM in Nashville.
Also, our assistant coach back in 2005-06, Todd Richards, is a candidate for the head coaching job in Minnesota. He is currently an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks.
We are in off-season planning mode here in the office. We’re selling season ticket plans, working on sponsorships and budgets and also taking a breather to regenerate our batteries to put together the big plans that will be the 2009-10 season.