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  1. #1

    Default STrib: Where have all the college hockey fans gone?

    per Rand:

    With an announced crowd of just 1,835 for its Big Ten playoff-opening game Friday against Michigan — and social media images painting an even more bleak picture of the attendance — the Gophers men’s hockey program garnered some negative attention.

    First-year head coach Bob Motzko did his best to shrug it off while offering an explanation.

    “They know there’s a big crowd 8 miles from here,” Motzko was quoted as saying after Friday’s game, referring to the boys’ high school Class 2A semifinals being played that night at Xcel Energy Center. “It’s a pretty tough night to have a hockey game in the state of Minnesota.”

    Significant factors were certainly at play. Namely: the continued deterioration of the Gophers’ fan base, precipitated by both the downturn in the program and the unpopularity of the Big Ten Conference.

    And when the Gophers advanced to the conference tournament semifinals Saturday with a sweep in front of a similarly paltry announced crowd of 1,911, Twin Cities residents were compelled to stay inside because of poor weather.

    But blaming the poor crowds on going head to head with the high school hockey state tournament? History says that one doesn’t hold up.

    Let’s take a journey back to March 2012 — the last time the Gophers had a home playoff series that went head-to-head with the boys’ hockey state tournament. That was the Gophers’ second-to-last season in the WCHA, and they ended up making Frozen Four that season.

    They opened the WCHA playoffs with a first-round series against Alaska-Anchorage, drawing an announced crowd of 9,410 for a Friday evening game and another 9,018 in the Game 2 sweep Saturday, according to the Star Tribune’s accounts of both games.

    There were more than enough hockey fans to go around seven years ago. Where did they go?

    Minnesota that year averaged 9,539 fans — No. 3 in the country and close to 3M Arena at Mariucci Arena’s 10,000-seat capacity.

    This year the Gophers are still No. 3 nationally, but with 7,944 fans per game — about 1,600 fewer than seven years ago, and a little less than 80 percent of capacity.

    Their continued lofty position in the relative college hockey pecking order is a reminder that their “poor” attendance is a problem almost every other program would love to have. And this past weekend was a really low number, even compared to the average crowd this season.

    But it’s a problem, and blaming it on the high school tournament isn’t going to fix it.

    Go Gophers!!

  2. #2


    City Pages: An empty arena delivers last rites to Minnesota Gophers hockey dynasty

    For decades, a University of Minnesota playoff game was must-see hockey. Of course, there was little chance you could be there in person. Waiting lists for season tickets numbered in the thousands. But from South St. Paul to the Iron Range, be assured the state was tuning in.

    Friday night’s attendance: 1,835. Saturday: 1,911. And this was the “announced attendance,” a phrase generally associated with mathematics not recognized by most middle school faculty.

    It stands to reason the Gophers would take a nick in attention. Over in St. Paul, the Minnesota state hockey tournament was raging. No one can truly compete with this joyous festival of retro mullets, spectacularly curated peach fuzz, and the most amazing young players this country has to offer.

    But compete they have for generations, and you never saw a Mariucci crowd resemble that of a bitter man’s funeral. Diehards were quick to raise the specter of self-inflicted wounds.

    Go Gophers!!

  3. #3


    Zulgad: An empty feeling: Can Gophers hockey ever recapture attendance magic?

    There has been plenty of conversation in recent years about attendance at University of Minnesota men’s hockey games due to the rows, and at times sections, of empty seats at Mariucci Arena. Not all of these unoccupied seats were unpaid for, but in terms of fans in the building this was an issue for a program that once was accustomed to playing before capacity crowds.

    Then came the Gophers’ 3-2 overtime victory over Michigan on Friday in their opening game of the Big Ten tournament at what is now called 3M Arena at Mariucci. The Gophers rallying from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Wolverines on Brandon McManus’ goal at 10 minutes, 10 seconds of overtime should have been the story but that wasn’t the case.

    Instead, the focus was on the announced attendance of 1,835 in an arena that holds 10,000. If the fact that there were 8,165 empty seats wasn’t alarming enough, there also was this sobering visual evidence.

    Things didn’t improve much for a 4 p.m. start on Saturday in which the Gophers beat the Wolverines, 4-1, en route to a two-game sweep and a berth in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. The announced attendance this time was 1,911.

    Go Gophers!!

  4. #4


    If the Gophers beat ND and PSU beats would be really interesting to see what the attendance would look like for the championship. I'd have to think that a championship game with a trip to the NCAA tournament on the line would pack Mariucci. And I'm assuming that they'd stagger the time with the Frozen Faceoff at the Xcel.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Village Green


    Was the band even there? Didn't look like it from the photos.
    Jaws was never my scene, and I don't like Star Wars.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Mean streets of Rochester


    Band was there for the Friday night game that I attended. Not sure about Saturday.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by GopherJack View Post
    Band was there for the Friday night game that I attended. Not sure about Saturday.
    Yes they were there for both games. However, I didn't see Rand or Zulgad
    Last edited by Ignatius L Hoops; 03-11-2019 at 04:23 PM.

  8. #8


    The attendance will be better with a better team, but the glory days are over for attendance. College hockey is a regional sport. I have talked to countless fans that said they followed Gopher hockey or had season tickets because of the traditional rivalries in the WCHA.

  9. #9


    I dont feel like the U makrketed these games at all. I watch a lot of Minnesota sports on TV, and I dont recall one ad.

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