The University of Denver hockey team has lost only once in its last ten games, charging into third place in the NCHC and back into the NCAA tournament picture. In short, we all watch a good team that is playing well, and most worthy of our fan support. In fact, DU has had more consecutive 20-win seasons than any team in the country (14), with eight straight NCAA appearances. The product on the ice is terrific.
But you wouldn’t know it by the hockey crowds at 6,026-seat capacity Magness Arena, which have actually dropped to about 5,000 or less for the last four league games by the official counts, and far less than that when you count actual fans in the building (and not just tickets sold, as DU reports).
Here are the official attendance counts as reported by DU for the last four games at Magness:
WMU Friday – 4,414
WMU Saturday – 5,124
UMD Friday – 4,865
UMD Saturday – 4,939
You would think that a winning team would put more fans the seats, but that hasn’t been the case with DU Hockey this year, as attendance seems to have flat-lined for league opponents that aren’t big brand names or rivals. The official counts are what they are, but there are also many ‘sold’ tickets that are never making out of the desk drawers, and empty seats at Pio games are everywhere. Nobody can expect sellouts every game, but we can do better than this, folks.
Student attendance, which also started exceedingly strong in the first half of the season, has also dipped noticeably, despite 200 free tickets per game, fun promotions and a winning team. If the students don’t care, that’s also big problem, as they are pretty much the only ones who cheer loudly enough to matter. There is a small core group of students there that does the best they can, but they aren’t enough. DU crowds are already typically the most passive in the NCHC, and it’s been that way for a while. As DU fans, this should concern all of us. Fewer DU fans in the building means less revenue, and that tame atmosphere and may also affect recruiting.
Fortunately, the rink will likely be full for North Dakota in the next home series, albeit with 2,000 UND fans showing up who mostly live in Colorado. And the Battle on Blake vs CC at Coors Field will likely be the biggest DU hockey attendance of all time, with about 25,000 tickets sold (upwards of 30,000) at last report, and good weather could mean even more.
Let’s hope DU can ride this February attendance boost to better attendance for the rest of the season.
This team deserves our support, and we all need to do our part.
Show up. And bring your friends, too.
Editor’s Note: This special feature was provided to us by Puck Swami, a loyal and dedicated DU alum. We appreciate everything he does for the DU community and we happily offer this space to make sure his voice is heard.