The United States Hockey League (USHL) has welcomed over one million fans during the 2008-09 season, marking the 10th consecutive season the league has surpassed that milestone. The feat was accomplished on Friday night as all 12 teams were in action during the final weekend of the regular season. The league attendance number this season eclipsed the combined total of the 2007-08 regular season and playoffs.
"In the toughest year from an economic standpoint since the Depression," said Commissioner Skip Prince, "there probably is no better testament to the loyalty and support of our fans, and to the strength of the USHL as a league, than to reach this attendance mark - again. On behalf of the ownership, the coaching staffs, the team front offices and the players of the USHL, let us say 'Thank you' one million times."
The Lincoln Stars led all USHL clubs in attendance for the third consecutive season drawing 129,428 fans for a 4,314 average over their 30 home contests. Five other clubs averaged more than 3,000 per game this season (Sioux Falls, Indiana, Green Bay, Fargo, Waterloo). Fargo enjoyed success both on and off the ice during their inaugural season as they ranked fifth in USHL attendance, averaging 3,203 fans per game. Waterloo continued impressive growth this year as the club has now had their attendance increase for an unprecedented seventh straight season.
The USHL is celebrating its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With over 160 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks playing in the league, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.ushl.com.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)