If you want big time hockey games in a transformed XL Center be thankful for the popularity of UConn. Their break out season last year into college hockey’s elite conference brought in record crowds and it put more of a spot light on the potential of the aging XL Center. Now that UConn is in its second Hockey East season the question is; will those crowds continue to show Hartford as a viable hockey market for big time games?
There have been seven UConn hockey games at the XL Center this season and 36,472 fans have come to see them. That’s an average of 5,210 fans a game, and puts them second in Hockey East attendance this season. They are still on track for another year of being a top attended team in the college ranks.
Last season, nationally, UConn finished 10th in the nation. The universities in front of UConn were North Dakota, and Wisconsin, and other college teams from bigtime hockey states. UConn was the first New England team on the list.
Just two nights ago UConn played Boston College at the XL Center in front of 7,219 fans. In Hartford Hockey there’s always a lot of focus on attendance and sometimes not the score board. UConn was embarrassed in a 5-1 loss as Boston College scored often and early building a 4-0 lead on a 7-0 shot advantage within the games first ten minutes. UConn did play better after Boston College backed off and they evened up the shot totals but not the score.The large crowd on hand was the third largest at the XL Center since UConn joined Hockey East. The game last year against Boston College was the largest(8,089).
UConn is continuing to draw well in the league and thanks to Anderson Analytics we can see it right here. Below is a list of the top ten Hockey East attended games so far this season.
Top 10 Hockey East conference attendance
1. UConn 7,219
2. UMass-L. 6,572
3. UNH 6,269
4. UMass-L. 6,104
5. UMass-L. 5,868
6. BU 5,508
7. BU 5,363
8. UConn. 5,225
9. UConn 5,190
10. UNH 5,187
While UConn’s performance on the ice has dipped from last year the interest in fans coming to Hartford to see them is still high. UConn is not just drawing well on the weekends they draw well in the middle of the work week too. The two of the three highest attended games at the XL Center (8,089, 7,219) happened on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Last season’s solid attendance numbers don’t appear to be a fluke. It has been surprising especially for a team with a disappointing record of 3-9. The Huskies record wasn’t that good last season but they still took four of the top ten attended games in Hockey East and this year they are on track to do that again. It’s a feather in Hartford Hockey’s cap and gives credence that this is a big time hockey town.