Crowds at Blizzard games would be the envy of QMJHL teams

Chart prepared by the Edmundston Blizzard communications staff.

EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – The enthusiasm shown towards the Edmundston Blizzard would be the envy of many teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Comparative data (see table) shows that the Blizzard would rank 10th in the average attendance at its local games if it played in the 18-team QMJHL.

In 12 games at the Jean-Daigle Centre, the Blizzard attracted 26,248 spectators, an average of 2,193 per game. That’s more than the Victoriaville Tigers (2,182), the Charlottetown Islanders (2,178), the Sherbrooke Phoenix (2,095), the Gatineau Olympiques (2,069), the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (1,982), the Drummondville Voltigeurs (1,920), the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (1,701) the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (1,636) and the Val-D’Or Foreurs (1,552). Obviously, it is far from the Quebec Remparts who dominate the list with an average crowd of 8,105 at the Videotron Center.

It should be noted that these data do not take into account the first three local games of the Blizzard who had to play at the Palladium of Saint-Jacques (3,090 spectators in three meetings).

The Blizzard is enjoying a real honeymoon with its fans in this first season of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. And nothing indicates that this passion will run out of steam during the remainder of the season. On the one hand, because the team is playing in a new state-of-the-art amphitheater with an exceptional group of volunteers and, on the other hand, because the Blizzard’s performance on the ice is electrifying and far exceeds expectations, not to mention the generosity shown by the players in the community. Another major factor is that more than 1,000 seats are sold several days before meetings. This is the case for the next three local games next month scheduled for January 10, 12 and 14.

On November 17, an unexpected success at the box office came in the third game at the Jean-Daigle Centre where a record crowd of 2,700 spectators showed up. That same evening, four other games were held in the MHL. These four games together attracted 2,618 spectators. That says a lot about the hockey frenzy in Edmundston and the area.

In the Maritime Hockey League, only the Yarmouth Mariners attract more than 1,000 spectators per game with average entries of 1,141. That’s almost half as much as the Blizzard (2,193).

And if we consider a larger territory, we see that the team of the Rivière-du-Loup 3L of the North American Hockey League, a semi-professional circuit, attracts an average of 1,078 spectators at its local games.

Edmundston Blizzard President André Lebel, a former local star and a well-known figure in the community can not be more proud of the "blizzardmania" that is sweeping through the northwest.

“The team attracts twice as many spectators as we expected. Why do people like the product? I would say that hockey at the Jean-Daigle Centre is more than just a game, it’s a sensational experience. And we promise other surprises to our supporters for the second part of the calendar, “said André Lebel.

The Blizzard (22 w, 4 l, 3 otl = 47 pts) is first overall in the MHL and 14th in the country. The players are resting now. They will be very busy when they return in action with six games in ten days from January 5th to January 14th.

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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone