When it comes to the arena attendance and the Central Division, some of the most consistent fans fill up these venues. Undeniably, the Central has had perennial Stanley Cup contenders that have dominated the league.
From the Chicago Blackhawks’ three championships, to the emergence of the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets, not to mention the consistent playoff teams in the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild, the Central has been a stacked division for quite a few years now.
The Dallas Stars are a few tweaks away from being a legitimate threat and the Colorado Avalanche are making moves to get back to being competitive too. It comes as no surprise that such a strong division would bring in pretty good numbers in terms of attendance.
Arena Attendance Charts
The following charts detail the reported attendances of each arena, as per hockey-reference.com. For a how-to on reading these charts, please refer to the explanation here. Teams are listed in order of arena capacity.
Playing out of the second largest arena in the league (only behind the Montreal Canadiens’ Bell Centre), the Chicago Blackhawks lead the way out of the Central division in terms of arena size. Officially, the Blackhawks sold out every single home game to the capacity of 19,717. If including standing room attendance, it was reported that all games ranged from 21,264 to 22,218, making for a perpetually packed United Center.
St. Louis Blues
The second largest arena in the Central, the Enterprise Center has a capacity of 18,724. Not unlike the United Center, the Enterprise Center also reported standing room attendance. The largest attended night came in at 19,235, which occurred during a mid-January loss against the Arizona Coyotes. The average attendance for the Blues—assuming standing room tickets maxed out the capacity at 18,724—was 18260. The lowest attendance was 16,341, in which the Blues shutout their division rivals the Dallas Stars.
The Dallas Stars often played in front of large crowds in the American Airlines Center throughout the season. That was definitely a win-win situation since the Stars put up a pretty good record in front of their home crowd. The American Airlines Center has a capacity of 18,532, and on average, 18,110 people attended the games. Their lowest turnout was a victory against the Arizona Coyotes in from of a crowd of 16,007.
The State of Hockey certainly doesn’t joke around. The Minnesota Wild had a sold out venue for every single game during the season, and they’ve been known to hold multi-season sellout streaks before in the past as well. The Xcel Energy Center is often filled well beyond its capacity of 17,954. Standing room tickets brought the attendance up to a range of 18,694 to 19,350 through the season.
The Colorado Avalance was the Central’s weakest team when it comes to attendance. Perhaps there was a wariness from the home crowd after 2016-17’s unforgettable disappointment. From their home opener sellout, it took another 18 games before another full arena was recorded. Just nine sellouts occurred throughout the season. With standing room tickets, their highest attended game the season finale against the Blues, good for 18,087 people. On average, the Pepsi Center had a crowd of 15,536, with the weakest showing being a 12,048 showing in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Smashville kept their reputation in tact as a hockey town. All home games were sold out, bringing in one of the loudest crowds in the league.The Nashville Predators had no shortage of cheers and chants whenever they hit the ice in the Bridgestone Arena. All 17,113 fans in attendance made their presence known night in and night out.
Playing out of the smallest arena in the league, the Winnipeg Jets also boasted sellouts for all of their games, filling up all 15,321 seats. Whiteout or not, the Bell MTS Centre had strong crowds throughout the season, and more often than not, the fans’ attendance was rewarded with a win, as the Jets went on three separate home win streaks of at least seven games or more.
The Central, the lone division in the league with seven teams, had four teams that had sellouts all season long. As many of the fans know, most of the teams in the division are either contenders or bubble playoff teams.
While it may seem the Blackhawks’ time on top may be coming to an end, the Predators and Jets are waiting at the helms to take over.
With no team in the Central really quite rebuilding, these strong attendance numbers will probably remain similar throughout the 2018-19 season too.
Arena Attendance Series Part 1: The Pacific Division
Arena Attendance Series Part 3: The Metropolitan Division
Arena Attendance Series Part 4: The Atlantic Division
All data obtained via hockey-reference.com.
Note: While numbers are listed as attendance, it may be the case that the numbers actually reflect ticket sales.
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