Fans Get Behind Panthers Push
With sell out games across the UK in recent weekends it was no surprise to see that the Nottingham Panthers were again in the IIHF attendance rankings. The NIC outfit even rose from 62nd to 54th as fans have flocked to see the Panthers in what could be a first Elite League-winning season.
The average attendance of 5,057 has no doubt been aided by the increased number of visits by local rivals Coventry and Sheffield in this first season of conference play in the EIHL. However the fact that the EIHLâ€™s other representative in the top 100 the Belfast Giants slipped down slightly (2 places) it does suggest that the Nottingham faithful are fully behind their sides push for the long awaited title.
The top British league was also revealed to the 9th most attended top flight in Europe beating the likes of France, Norway, Denmark and Italy. However with the publication of these figures not all British games have been completed and with big games to come between conference rivals we may well find that the average of 1,977 rises.
Elsewhere the numbers and facts do through up some interesting facts and happenings. Ice hockey in the Czech capital Prague for instance there has a big increase as both Sparta and Slavia of the Extra League have seen attendances rise despite new KHL outfit Lev Prague drawing an average of 7,161.
The KHL was also responsible for the biggest leap in attendance. Slovakian newcomers Slovan Bratislava saw an average attendance rose from 5,907 to 9,975 as the team had a 98.83% fill rate.
Switzerland still provides the best attendances in Europe though as SC Bern topped the list for the 12th year in a row. Whilst worldwide the NHL dominates as the sell outs at the United Center makes the Chicago Blackhawks the best attended team in the world.Â The Asian title went to the Nikko Ice Bucks with an average of 1,396.