The Abbotsford Canucks average attendance over the team’s 34 home games this season finished at 4,292.
This number ranks Abbotsford in 17th place in the 31-team American Hockey League.
COVID-19 capacity restrictions were in place for much of the club’s season, especially earlier on as there were only six games during the months of October, November and December that were not under the 50 per cent limit.
Capacity restriction also impacted attendance in January and most of February, as restrictions were not lifted until Feb. 16. The Canucks first home game without restrictions occurred on Feb. 25. In addition to the capacity restrictions, a vaccine card was mandatory to attend games until April 8.
The Canucks have averaged 5,069 since the capacity restrictions were lifted. The three games in which there were no capacity restrictions and no vaccine card was required has seen an average attendance of 5,381. The maximum capacity for the Abbotsford Centre is 7,040.
The 5,000 mark for attendance is a significant one, as that was the amount of fans required for the city of Abbotsford to reach the revenue sharing threshold established in the contract between the city and the team. Obviously the 4,242 is not enough to lock in the revenue sharing this season, but a city spokesperson told The News back in January that the city did not expect or budget for any financial gains due to revenue sharing in year one.
The highest attendance occurred on April 2 when 6,017 saw the Laval Rocket come to town. The smallest crowd was on Jan. 23 when 3,422 saw the San Diego Gulls. That game occurred on the same afternoon as the NFL Divisional Round and with a 4 p.m. start it went basically head-to-head with the Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs game.
The attendance numbers are also higher than anything the Abbotsford Heat averaged during the team’s five seasons from 2009-10 to 2013-14. The Heat had years of 3,897, 3,807, 3,545, 3,778 and 3,007 during its time at the Abbotsford Centre.
The Hershey Bears are number one in the AHL with attendance, averaging 7,935 in the team’s 38 games this season. The Cleveland Monsters were second at 7,046 and the Grand Rapids Griffins ranked third with 7,029. The San Diego Gulls were the top Western Conference team, averaging a total of 6,992.
Abbotsford placed second amongst the AHL’s five Canadian teams, finishing behind the Laval Rocket who averaged 4,893. Other Canadian teams totals included: Manitoba (2,632), Toronto (2,066) and Belleville (1,556). NOTE: This is the final week of action for the AHL so the final numbers may be slightly different.
The Abbotsford Canucks will find out later this week if they will host home playoff dates next week. The team takes on the Manitoba Moose in Winnipeg on Thursday (April 28) and Saturday (April 30).
If the team picks up two points over the final two games they are guaranteed to finish third. One point guarantees fourth and zero points will mean the team finishes fourth or fifth depending on what occurs in the Bakersfield Condors game against the Stockton Heat on Saturday. A fifth-place finish would mean no home playoff dates in round one.
Playoff games for the first round best-of-three series are tentatively scheduled for May 4, 6 and 7 (if necessary).