December 11, 2016

NCAA Division I Hockey: the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC): attendance map (2015-16 regular season), with arena capacities, percent-capacities.

Filed under: Hockey,NCAA, ice hockey,NCAA, ice- Atlantic Conf — admin @ 7:00 pm

NCAA Division I Hockey: the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC): attendance map (2015-16 regular season), with arena capacities, percent-capacities

By Bill Turianski on 11 December 2016;

Conferences…Division I in ice hockey.
Teams in Atlantic Hockey, etc…Atlantic Hockey ( Atlantic Hockey blog (

Conference-maps for NCAA Division I (aka D1) men’s ice hockey
(Note: already-posted D1-hockey conference maps are linked-to, below.)
I am making a location-map for each of the 6 D1-hockey conferences, which are…
Atlantic Hockey Association (11 teams/est. 1998-99/ zero titles).
Big Ten Conference hockey (6 teams [7-teams in 2017-18]/est. 2013-14/ 23 titles won amongst its six teams).
∙ECAC Hockey (12 teams/est. 1961-62/ 7 titles won amongst its twelve teams).
∙Hockey East Association (12 teams [11 teams in 2017-18]/est. 1984-85/ 13 titles won amongst its twelve teams).
National Collegiate Hockey Conference (aka NCHC) (8 teams/est. 2013-14/ 18 titles won amongst its eight teams).
Western Collegiate Hockey Association (aka WCHA) (10 teams/est. 1951-52/ 8 titles won amongst its ten teams).

The location-map here shows the eleven-team Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC).
The AHC has teams spread through four Northeastern states, plus Colorado. There are 4 teams from New York (Canisius College, Niagara, Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT], US Military Academy [Army]), 3 teams from Massachusetts (American International University [AIC], Bentley, Holy Cross), 2 teams from Pennsylvania (Mercyhurst and Robert Morris), 1 team from Connecticut (Sacred Heart), and 1 team from Colorado (US Air Force Academy).

The map
The map is based on my recently-posted 60-team NCAA D1-hockey location-map {see it here}. The Atlantic Hockey teams’ crests, colors and arena-locations are shown on the map. Each team’s color-circle, which radiates out from their location-dot, is sized to represent average attendance…the larger the circle, the higher the team’s average attendance. Crowd-size-rank within the 60-team-D1 is also noted – by the number next to the team-name on the map and on the attendance-list. (North Dakota is the highest-drawing D1-hockey team, currently.)

The chart at the right side of the map page shows attendance data. Along with average attendances of the 11 Atlantic hockey teams (2015-16 home regular season figures), arena sizes and percent-capacities are listed. At the lower-right of the map-page is a chart showing all D1-hockey teams’ titles and Frozen Four appearances (39 of the 60 D1-hockey teams).

Of the eleven Atlantic Hockey teams, eight of them are in the bottom ten of D1-hockey attendance…
Not only is Atlantic Hockey full of teams that are decidedly small-program, there are no D1-hockey titles won among its eleven teams. But there are four teams in Atlantic Hockey which are filling their small arenas pretty well. The Mercyhurst Lakers (of Erie, PA) are playing to sell-out crowds most games (they drew 1.2 K in their 1.3-K-capacity arena last season). And the Air Force Falcons, the RIT Tigers, and the Holy Cross Crusaders are all drawing above 75 percent-capacity.

I suspect most teams in Atlantic Hockey do not benefit from much local newspaper coverage or from local television-sports-news coverage, and this contributes to low attendance. Here is an article from the Buffalo News from March 2015, which discusses this, BNRinkside: College hockey attendance analytics (by Amy Moritz at In that article it is said that “Atlantic Hockey could do better to promote itself, not just nationally but in its own markets.” But how? If the local media aren’t covering Atlantic Hockey teams because they draw so low, how do you get people to know you even exist? It is a Catch-22-situation that ends up dooming low-drawing Atlantic Hockey teams to small crowds, thanks to a non-existent media footprint. In other words, they don’t get any local news coverage because they draw so poorly, and they draw so poorly because they don’t get any local news coverage.

That being said, there are a few teams in Atlantic Hockey that enjoy decent coverage in their local newspaper, like my hometown’s team, the RIT Tigers (see 2 paragraphs below). And like the Holy Cross Crusaders (of Worcester, MA), as this write-up of a recent game shows. And like Air Force (of Colorado Springs, CO)/see this. And like the two Greater Buffalo-based teams (Canisius College and Niagara)/see this.

But many teams in Atlantic Hockey, like the Robert Morris Patriots (of Moon Township, Greater Pittsburgh, PA), get very spotty coverage (like a report on a game a week ago, but no report on the Robert Morris game versus Bentley on Dec. 10th). Or gets none at all (note how at that link there is a section for the minor-league soccer team [Pittsburgh Riverhounds], but no section at all for any Robert Morris sports teams). And the same can be said – for a complete lack of media coverage – of the two Atlantic Hockey teams within the Greater New York City area: the Sacred Heart Pioneers (of Fairfield, CT) and the Army Black Knights (of West Point, NY). Ditto for the Bentley Falcons (of Waltham, MA), in Boston. I could not find any coverage of the AIC Yellow Jackets in the Springfield, Massachusetts television and print media. And it looks like the Mercyhurst Lakers get less coverage than local high school hockey and the Erie Otters (who play in the Ontario Hockey League and draw 4 times what Mercyhurts draws/see this recent OHL map I made).

In my hometown – Rochester, NY – that is actually not the case, and the RIT Tigers hockey team gets pretty solid coverage in the local newspaper, and from the local cable 24-hour news channel, as well as the local network-television stations (like this: RIT hockey toger toss and this: RIT Hockey Loses Series Against Providence). But that is because my hometown is a real anomaly. Rochester has a population of around 1.1 million in its metro-area (making it the 54th largest city in the USA/see this). Despite that, Rochester is one of the two largest city/metro-areas in the USA without even a D1-college basketball team, let alone any major league teams, or a D1-football team. (The only other city of equal-or-greater-size with that same situation is Grand Rapids, MI [52nd-largest-city in the USA], which also has no major league teams, or D1-football teams, or D1-basketball teams.)

So when the RIT Tigers hockey team made the leap up, from Division III to Division I in 2005, it was relatively big news in my sleepy town, because Rochester finally had a D1 team, albeit only in hockey. But Rochester is a hockey town (the Rochester Amerks are the second-oldest team in the AHL and are the nearby Buffalo Sabres’ top farm team). Now in a new, on-campus 4.3-K-capacity arena, the RIT Tigers lead Atlantic Hockey in attendance, drawing 3.3 K. And the RIT Tigers made it to a Frozen Four (in 2010), which is the only time any Atlantic Hockey team has ever done so.
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Thanks to AMK1211 for blank map of USA, ‘File:Blank US Map with borders.svg”>File:Blank US Map with borders.svg‘ (
-Thanks to Two Hearted River at[each teams' page at Wikipedia], for small segments of jersey illustrations of several teams (Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, Cornell, Maine, Minnesota State, Vermont, Yale, UMass, Western Michigan, Canisius College, American International), such as at File:ECAC-Uniform-Cornell.png.
-Thanks to USCHO site for attendance data, Men’s Division I Hockey Attendance: 2015-2016 (

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