Photo credit: marlies.ca
The Hershey Bears have long been considered one of the elite teams of the American Hockey League. The Bears have won eleven Calder Cups and had eleven of its coaches and players inducted into the NHL or AHL halls of fame. With its rich history and fantastic arena, the Bears have routinely churned out top prospects and cultivated a huge following, leading the AHL in attendance for the past six seasons. But how do they compare to the rest of the world?
On Monday, Sports.ru blogger Viktor Mayorov tabulated the current average attendance numbers for every hockey team in Europe, which included leagues in Russia (KHL), Germany (DEL), Switzerland (NLA), Austria (EBEL), Sweden (Elitserien), and Finland (SM-Liiga).
The results are below the jump.
European Hockey Home Attendance, 2012-13
1. SC Bern – NLA – 16,296
2. Dinamo Minsk – KHL – 14,214
3. Eisbaren Berlin – DEL – 14,016
4. Kolner Haie – DEL – 12,321
5. SKA St. Petersburg – KHL – 11,785
6. Adler Mannheim – DEL – 10,301
7. Slovan Bratislava – KHL – 9,925
8. Jokerit Helsinki – SM-Liiga – 9,658
9. Hershey Bears – AHL – 9,085
10. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl – KHL – 8,728
Not only does the Hershey Bears’ attendance nearly double Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom’s Dynamo Moscow (5,890 – 37th in Europe), they would be ranked ninth overall among all European teams. Backstrom’s former team Brynas has an average attendance of 6,324, good for third in the SEL (28th in Europe), while Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Traktor Cheylabinsk averaged 7,229 (19th in Europe) and Fillp Forsberg’s Leksands IF averaged 4,860 (4th among all European Minor League teams).
The second most popular AHL team, the Lake Erie Monsters, would’ve fallen outside of the top 20 with an average attendance of 7,184.
Those Pennsylvanians sure love their Bears.