(photo: Crunch Wiki by Letartean)
Yes, we all heard it right. An AHL game featuring the Syracuse Crunch and the Utica Comets played in front of an audience of 30,715 on Saturday night. The game officially set a record for the largest indoor crowd in the United State to be at a professional hockey game.
The night was even better than expected for Syracuse. The Crunch, a proud affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lighting, swept the Comets, an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, aside in an ending score of 2-1 in the Toyota Frozen Dome Classic. Syracuse’s leading goal scorer, Yanni Gourde, managed to score the final goal of the night just 49 seconds into the second period. Even though the Comets fell to the Crunch, the atmosphere of that entire experience could not have been that unpleasant.
The game even managed to overthrow an NHL game from the record books. The last record before Saturday’s game was the 1996 Stanley Cup Playoff game at Tropicana Field between the Lighting and the Philadelphia Flyers. The attendance was at a shocking 28, 138.
They still have a ways to go if they want to beat the ultimate record. Saturday’s game was actually the second biggest crowd overall for an AHL game. In 2012 when the Adirondack Phantoms beat the Hershey Bears 4-3 in Philadelphia, the attendance number was at a whopping 45,653.
Even though this was an American Hockey League game, which might not be a giant deal for some people, this just proves how much hockey really is coming up in the United States. People are appreciating all hockey more and more even if it is not the usual thought of ones like the Blackhawks or Penguins. At this rate, crowds will keep getting bigger, stadiums even louder and all games even better.