A silly name for this blog, I know, but it’s true. There’s nothing “minor” about minor league hockey. It’s an amazing, exciting and MASSIVE place where, if you’re a hockey fanatic like me, you can spend hours upon hours and not spend your entire paycheck going to one game like you do in that other league.
There are so many individual leagues all around North America, Europe, Asia and yes, Australia & New Zealand, it would be hard to write about all of them, but over the coming weeks and months, The Bulls Sheet will be doing our best to do just that.
Little by little this blog will turn towards not only covering the San Francisco Bulls our first love, but will also write about other teams, games and countries. So, stay tuned for that!
Now, there are some very exciting things happening in the ECHL. The league is right in the middle of the second round of the playoffs and the eight teams playing are so close skill-wise, but it’s getting closer to see who will pull away with wins this time around.
Reading Royals vs Florida Everblades in Florida. Blades are ahead 2-1 games
Gwinnett Gladiators vs Cincinnati Cyclones in Cincinnati. Cyclones are ahead 2-1 games
Ontario Reign vs Idaho Steelheads in Boise. Ontario are ahead 2-1 games
Alaska Aces vs Stockton Thunder. Stockton leads this series 2-1 games
Listening to or watching online any of these battles is a real treat. This is prime hockey, so try and catch a game if you can. I’ll give more of an opinion after the fourth game in all.
This season was a good one for most of the ECHL teams. According to ECHL attendance numbers, many showed an increase over last year. Sure, much of this has to do with the lock out, but also because I think hockey as a sport is on the upswing.
It was a surprise to me that the Fort Wayne Komets has the best attendance numbers. This certainly has nothing to do with the NHL lockout! Fort Wayne is over 200 miles from both Chicago and Columbus. The Komets had crowds all of their first season averaging 7,583 fans. Hockey is GOOD in Indiana!
The Ontario Reign also increased in attendance by 20%, totaling over 1 million fans in five years. People in the Inland Empire know that good hockey is to be had for less than the price of parking at a Kings game.
In fact, all of the new teams had great attendance during their first years. This is a positive sign. The Bulls had eighth highest attendance at 4,164 fans average per game. In a big city with lots of other diversions and ways to spend one’s money, these are excellent numbers.
Not all of the teams did great. The Trenton Titans announced this week they will cease operations in the 2013-2014 season. The team drew just over 3,000 per game and dropped to 2,500 at one point. They’re hoping to come back for the 2014-2015. My best wishes to them, it sucks losing teams.
Las Vegas Wranglers announced Mike Madill as new general manager and head coach. Seeing that they lost to Florida in the finals last year and got bumped by the Stockton Thunder in the first round this season, I guess the owners want to try something new. Madill played for the Wranglers and this is his first professional coaching job. Madill holds the record for all time games played with the Wranglers at 336, scoring 131 points. He was no slouch as a player. Good players don’t always make the best coaches, so I hope this works for the Wranglers.
The spring weather is warming up in most places so go out and enjoy the weather and outside!