Utica tops Division III ice hockey attendance mark
Utica surpassed the existing Division III record for average home men’s ice hockey attendance this season, drawing more than 2,700 fans per game.
The Pioneers averaged 2,781 fans in 13 home dates at Utica Memorial Auditorium, topping the 1997 record of 2,495 fans at Elmira currently listed in the NCAA men’s ice hockey records book. The NCAA has listed an attendance record since 1996.
Utica led all Division III men’s ice hockey programs in home attendance for the second straight year, according to U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO.com). The only other program that averaged more than 2,000 fans per game is Oswego State (2,132).
Average attendance at Utica has increased by more than 1,000 fans per game since 2006, when the Pioneers ranked second in Division III with a 1,777 average.
“The city of Utica has rallied around our program and it shows in the final attendance figures,” said seventh-year head coach Gary Heenan. “On behalf of our team I would like to thank the entire city of Utica for the constant support on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the winter season.
“A goal of ours since the inception of the program is to average over 3,000 fans per game and we are inching toward that goal becoming a reality.”
Utica Memorial Auditorium in downtown Utica has a listed capacity of 4,000.
The Pioneers rank 31st in attendance among all NCAA men’s ice hockey programs this year, and posted better attendance than 29 Division I programs.
The team finished the season with a 15-10-1 overall record and an 8-6-1 record in the ECAC Men’s West Conference. Three of Utica’s rivals in the conference earned Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship berths.
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