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Published: Wednesday, 10/10/2012

WALLEYE SEASON PREVIEW

Toledo's attendance among ECHL's best

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

A ticket to a Walleye game remains a hot commodity despite the team's struggles to earn a playoff spot.

Toledo has ranked among the top three teams in total attendance in the ECHL in each of the organization's first three seasons of existence. Yet the team has not qualified for the playoffs in two of those three years.

An average crowd of 6,252 attended the Walleye's 36 home games at the Huntington Center last season. The team finished last in the ECHL North Division but was second in overall attendance with 225,060 spectators.

READ MORE: 2012-13 Walleye Season Preview

WALLEYE SEASONS

2011-12: 28-38-6 record (4th in North Division; 11th in Eastern Conference); did not make playoffs

2010-11: 33-33-6 record (4th in North Division; 9th in Eastern Conference); did not make playoffs

2009-10: 35-30-7 record (3rd in the North Division; 8th in American Conference); lost in first round of playoffs

That total was only 1,515 less than the total number of fans that came to see the team in its inaugural season in 2009-10 in the new arena.

After drawing 226,575 fans that year, the Walleye attracted 214,311 spectators in their second season.

By comparison, in the Storm's 16 seasons at the Sports Arena, the team's largest attendance for a season came in 1996-97 — 169,775 for 36 games.

In the Storm's final season in 2006-07, the team drew a total of 141,358 fans. The organization ranked near the middle of the pack in the ECHL, drawing an average of 3,927 fans per contest.

However, the seating capacity for the final season of Storm hockey was 5,233. The Huntington Center has 7,431 seats for hockey games.

Nearly 100,000 tickets have already been sold for this season, which is on pace with last year's sales.

"We've also sold around 2,000 season ticket which is also comparable to last year," said Brian Perkins, the team's director of ticket sales and services.

Tickets are still available for opening night Saturday against Kalamazoo. Tickets for the opener are $17.

Tickets for all other games are $15 for adults and $13 for children (12 and under) and seniors (and 65 and older).

Perkins said a variety of season-ticket packages also are available.

Individual and season tickets can be purchased at the Huntington Center box office, the Fifth Third Field box office, by phone at 419-725-9255, or at toledowalleye.com.



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