The Ottawa Senators are known as a small market team, without the luxury of being able to spend as much money as other organizations in the league.
There’s a lot of factors that cause this, but the Senators’ fan base has always done a solid job of supporting this team.
I wanted to take a look at the attendance figures for all thirty of the NHL teams to see which franchise was the biggest draw.
Of course, attendance is just one aspect of the story, and not completely illustrative. Games are expensive, and maybe fans would rather stay home or go to a local restaurant or bar to watch the game.
However, attendance figures are at least able to provide a general picture of how the community congregates around the local team, and to what degree.
For games at the Canadian Tire Centre, the Senators averaged 18,084 fans per contest. That ranked 17th in the NHL.
Slightly below average, but certainly not anything to raise your eyebrows at. The Chicago Blackhawks lead the league with an average of 21,859 fans packed in at the United Center.
The Blackhawks have lead the NHL in average attendance at home games every season since 2008-2009.
The team with the lowest average attendance was the Carolina Hurricanes, with only 12,203 fans in attendance on average at PNC Arena.
In terms of percent capacity, 13 teams registered at 100% or better. Unfortunately, the Senators were not one of them.
They only ranked 24th in the league with 94.4% capacity at the Canadian Tire Centre. 26 out of the 30 franchises in the NHL at least had 90%.
Carolina ended up ranking last in this category as well with an abysmal 65.3% capacity percentage. More than a third of seats didn’t get sold at their games.
Home attendance doesn’t go as far as indicating what team is the biggest draw in the league, though. That distinction is reserved for road attendance.
Which team is the one team that fans circle on their calendars and make sure to do everything in their power to get tickets when they come to town?
Unsurprisingly, it’s the Montreal Canadiens, who averaged 19,026 fans in attendance when they played road games.
The Canadiens, Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings were the only teams to have at least 100% capacity percentage for their road games.
Interestingly enough, the Hurricanes ranked 8th in the NHL in average road attendance for their games. They averaged more than 5,000 fans more per road game than home game.
It’s definitely interesting to examine these statistics, because it gives good insight to where the league stands right now with its collective fanbase.