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ECHL is Only Minor League That Raised Attendance in 2007-08

Wednesday, April 23rd
ECHL is Only Minor League That Raised Attendance in 2007-08

The Idaho Steelheads? nine sellouts, including its largest ever regular season crowd of 5,631 on Jan. 19, helped the ECHL celebrate its 20th season by being the only minor professional hockey league to raise its attendance in 2007-08. Overall the league had 51 sellouts with 11 teams increasing their attendance. ?The Steelheads had three more sell outs this season over last and we hope the trend will continue into next season,? said Eric Trapp, Idaho Steelheads President. ?The quality of players we?re seeing in the ECHL keeps getting better, with several former Steelheads getting NHL action this year. We believe that, combined with quality entertainment and flexible pricing plans, makes Steelheads games a great value to our fans.?The third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the ECHL averaged 4,174 per game. It is the fourth year in row and the 16th time in the last 18 years that the league has averaged over 4,000 fans. The Premier ?AA? Hockey League welcomed 3,756,191 fans, marking the fifth straight season and the 11th time in the last 12 years that it has exceeded 3.75 million fans. The 51 sold out crowds are the most in the last five seasons and mark the fourth time in the last five years that the ECHL has had at least 40 sellouts. ?While we had hoped that the increase would be more significant, the fact that there was an increase is a credit to the efforts of management and the teams across the league,? said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. ?We look forward to continuing these efforts to increase in growth in attendance and revenues for the 2008-09 season.? In its first season Elmira led the league with 14 sellouts followed by Charlotte with 12, Idaho with nine and Florida with six. The Steelheads lead the league in regular season sellouts the last five years with 38 followed by Charlotte with 33, Florida with 31 and Alaska with 20. The Jackals averaged 93.2 percent of capacity (3,525 per game) at First Arena which was up 2.9 percent from the previous season. Elmira had sellout crowds for seven consecutive Saturdays from Dec. 15, 2007-Mar. 1, 2008 while Idaho, which raised its average to 4,389 per game, had standing-room-only crowds on Friday and Saturday for three straight weeks. The Idaho Steelheads are now selling a wide variety of season tickets for the 2008-09 season, with new reduced pricing in some locations. For information or to reserve the best seats, call (208) 383-0080. ECHLCelebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08, the ECHL is the Premier ?AA? Hockey League and the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League. ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 25 teams playing 900 games in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08. The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. There have been 355 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 99 in the last three seasons. There have been 210 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past seven seasons. There are 15 coaches in the NHL who have ECHL experience including former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and former Mississippi coach Bruce Boudreau, who is head coach of the Washington Capitals. The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2007-08 and for the past 18 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion. In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players. In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03. Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.- www.idahosteelheads.com -

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