Last night, 5,218 fans witnessed the Chicago Wolves defeat the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL West Division Final Game 7. I was one of those fans in attendance.
Looking around the arena, and listening to the noise level, I thought there was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 or more at the game.
Yet, the box score read "5,218" for the attendance in the paper this morning.
This caught me off guard somewhat, especially since this game was a Game 7 against an in-state rival in the Rockford IceHogs, and they are the primary affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.
I have been a part of crowds in excess of 15,000 at Wolves playoff games, and the noise level was just the same as last night.
Game 7 of the 1998 IHL Turner Cup Finals comes to mind, and I was one of the 16,701 in the building when the Wolves won their first championship.
I was also a witness to Game 5 of the 2000 Turner Cup Finals, which saw over 18,000 fans pass through the turnstiles.
I have to believe that as the Wolves continue to advance the fans will come out in larger numbers.
But part of me believes the low playoff numbers this late into the postseason might be a product of the fact that the team routinely makes the playoffs, and only once has failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs.
This isn't the first time this has happened. Look at the Atlanta Braves playoff attendance totals late in their run of dominance over the NL East.
I can only hope that more seats will be filled for the Western Conference Finals.
After the game was over, I congratulated Wolves Senior Executive Vice-President and anthem singer Wayne Messmer on the victory, and he invited us back for the next round.
I just might have to take him up on that offer.
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