Despite the bad economy, the National Hockey League set a record for total attendance in a season for the fourth season in a row.Despite the bad economy, the National Hockey League set a record for total attendance in a season for the fourth season in a row.
The charge was led by two of the Original Six: the Boston Bruins are the toast of Beantown once again, while the new management of the Chicago Blackhawks expanded the market for the team with new promotions and the televising of home games on local cable — something the late Bill Wirz refused to do.
All in all, the NHL drew 21.4 million fans in reported attendance, an increase of 1.1 percent over 2007-2008. The Blackhawks ended up averaging 21,752 at United Center — up almost 30 percent from 2007-2008. The Boston Bruins enjoyed a 10.4 percent increase to a 17,040 per-game average. And the Washington Capitals had an outstanding year, attracting 18.097 fans a game to Verizon Center — a 17 percent increase. Add to that the 11 teams playing to 100 percent capacity (all six Canadian teams plus the Flyers, Penguins, Rangers, Red Wings and Sharks), and you had the basis for a pretty good season.
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