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Worcester Ranked as a Top 50 City in the US for Hockey Fans

Thursday, June 09, 2016

 

Worcester has been ranked as the 50th best city for hockey fans out of 72 cities in the United States, according to a recent study done by WalletHub. 

Worcester ranks 23rd for NHL and 30th for college hockey. 

Oxford, Ohio and Troy, New York are ranked head of Worcester at 48 and 49 respectively, while St. Cloud, Minnesota and Mankato, Minnesota are ranked behind Worcester at 51 and 52. 

New Team Coming to Town 

Starting in the 2017-18 season, Worcester will play host to the newest ECHL Team, the Worcester Railers HC. 

The ECHL began in 1988-89 and is a "AA" Professional Hockey League that is based in Princeton, New Jersey with 28 teams in 21 states and one team in Canada. 

The Railers will be Worcester's 3rd pro hockey team since 1994 when the IceCats began their run. 

The Worcester Sharks of the AHL were the last pro hockey team in Worcester but they left after the 2014-15 season to move to San Jose. 

NCAA Hockey in Worcester

This past March, the DCU Center hosted the NCAA East Regional which saw college hockey powers Boston College and Harvard come to down while also seeing the defending national champion  Providence and Minnesota Duluth. 

Worcester's attendance Friday's two games totaled 6,682 and for the regional finals, attendance was 4,572, which translates to 62 % of the seats being unsold. 

“Attendance at 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Northeast Regional in Worcester was actually a great success. In fact, it was the highest attended regional among the four cities that hosted the event this year: Worcester, Albany, St. Paul and Cincinnati,” said Sandra Dunn, General Manager for SMG, told GoLocal.

How Hockey Stacks up Nationally

According to WalletHub, hockey is the fourth most followed sport among US adult fans and it has climbed one spot in the top 10 every year since 2012. 

When compared to the NBA, WalletHub says that the NHL has sold to more arena's then the NBA and that fans are willing to pay 15% more to see a hockey game than an NBA game. 

The Rankings 

While Worcester ranks 50th, the top city for hockey is Detroit, Michigan, home to the NHL's Detroit Red Wings. Boston, Pittsburgh, New York and Chicago round out the top five. 

Note that four of the top five cities are home to the NHL's original 6 teams. 

Find out where other cities rank using the map below. 

Source: WalletHub

The Method 

To find the best city for hockey fans, WalletHub's analysts compared 72 of the most populated US cities across two divisions including NHL and College Hockey. WalletHub chose cities with at least one college or professional team. 

WalletHub then compiled 17 relevant metrics and gave each one a corresponding weight. Each metric was given a value between 0 and 100, with 100 representing the most favorable conditions. 

In order to determine the weight for each division, WalletHub surveyed teams in each division's Facebook account, summed the number of "likes" and calculated the proportions that each league represented in total. The weight attributed to each division was based on its popularity.

WalletHub then calculated the overall score for each city using the weighted average across all metrics and ranked the cities accordingly. 

The metrics WalletHub used are as follows:

NHL (Division I) – Total Points: 90

  • Number of Teams: Full Weight (~12.00 Points)
  • Performance Level: Full Weight (~12.00 Points)
  • Note: This metric was calculated by dividing the number of wins by the total games played. The past three seasons’ average was used for this calculation.
  • Number of Stanley Cup Wins: Full Weight (~12.00 Points)
  • Number of Division Championship Wins: Half Weight (~6.00 Points)
  • Franchise Value: Half Weight (~6.00 Points)
  • Note: This metric measures the team’s estimated value in $million.
  • Minimum Season-Ticket Price for a Game: Full Weight (~12.00 Points)
  • Fan Engagement: Full Weight (~12.00 Points)
  • Note: This metric was calculated by adding the number of Twitter followers to the number of Facebook “Likes” per capita.
  • Stadium Capacity: Half Weight (~6.00 Points)
  • Note: This metric was calculated by dividing stadium capacity by city population.
  • Attendance: Half Weight (~6.00 Points)
  • Note: This metric was calculated by dividing average home-fan attendance by arena capacity.
  • Popularity Index: Half Weight (~6.00 Points)

College Hockey (Division I) – Total Points: 10

  • Number of Teams: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Performance Level: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Note: This metric was calculated by dividing the number of wins by the total games played. The past three seasons’ average was used for this calculation.
  • Number of Championship Wins: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Number of Regular Season Championship Wins: Half Weight (~0.83 Points)
  • Minimum Season-Ticket Price for a Game: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Fan Engagement: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Note: This metric was calculated by adding the number of Twitter followers to the number of Facebook “Likes” per capita.
  • Stadium Capacity: Half Weight (~0.83 Points)
  • Note: This metric was calculated by dividing stadium capacity by city population.
 

Related Slideshow: A History of Hockey in Worcester

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1954-55

Worcester's 1st Pro Hockey Team, Worcester Warriors 

The Worcester Warriors played their first season as part of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL). The Warriors played their games at Worcester (Webster Square) Arena. 

In their first season, under Head Coach John "Hans" Marsden, the Warriors went 3-17 and finished in last place. 

Other Teams in the EHL that season included the Washington Lions, Clinton Comets, New Haven Blades and Baltimore Clippers. 

Photo is of Harold Songin, courtesy of EHL.com

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1955-56

Warriors Join Atlantic Hockey League 

After just one season in the EHL, the Warriors joined the Atlantic Hockey League for the 1955-56 season. 

However, the 1956 season would be the last season for the Atlantic Hockey League and in turn, the last season for the Warriors. 

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1978

Worcester Crusaders Youth Hockey is Established 

The Worcester Crusaders served as one of the oldest youth hockey organizations in the Massachusetts. 

The Crusaders competed in the New England Hockey League, one of the best youth hockey leagues in North America. 

For the 2011/12 season, the Crusaders sponsored 9 teams ranging from mite division to midget division. 

Photo courtesy of Crusaders website

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1994

The IceCats Come to Worcester 

The IceCats came to Worcester prior to the 1994-95 season and played their games at the Worcester Centrum. 

The IceCats went 24-45-11 in their first season and finished in 6th place in the conference. 

However, the IceCats would turn it around and make the playoffs in every season after that, except 2004-2005, but would never advance past the second round. 

Notable players from the IceCats include goaltender Dwayne Roloson, enforcer Sylvain Blouin, Steve Staios, Dennis Wideman, Ladislav Nagy and Terry Virtue. 

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2005

Worcester IceCats are Moved to Illinois 

After the St. Louis Blues announced the sale of the IceCats in 2004, the team was moved prior to the 2005-2006 season to Peoria Illinois. 

The team was known was the Peoria Riverman from 2005-2013, and is currently known as the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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2006-07

Sharks Arrive in Worcester 

The Cleveland Barons were moved to Worcester and became the Sharks, the AHL Affiliate of the San Jose Sharks. 

The Sharks played their first home game on October 14 in front of a sold out DCU Center. 

In their first season, Worcester went 41-28-3 (OT Loss)- 8 (shootout Loss) and made the playoffs. The Sharks lost to the Manchester Monarchs in the first round. 

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2009-10

Sharks Have Most Successful Season 

Sharks had their best season in 2009-10 when they went 49-25-3-3 and finished in first place in the Atlantic Division. 

The Sharks made the playoffs but lost in the second round to the Manchester Monarchs. 

The captain of the team was Ryan Vescue and the Head Coach was Roy Sommer. 

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2012

Worcester Crusaders Merge With the Worcester Junior Sharks  

The two organizations combined bring in more than 550 kids and just over 92 USA Hockey certified coaches.

The Worcester Junior Sharks program is structured to allow each player to develop and test their skills at three distinct levels of competition (House, Travel and AAA Elite) 

For more information on the Junior Sharks, click here. 

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Jan. 29, 2015

AHL Announces Sharks are Moving to San Jose 

The American Hockey League announced that at seasons end, the Worcester Sharks would be packing up and going across country to become the San Jose Barracuda. 

The move was made so that the San Jose Sharks would be able to call up and send down players easier. 

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April, 25 2015

Sharks Play Final Home Game 

The Sharks played their final home game at the DCU Center and it was a playoff game. 

However, the Sharks would fall in the game 3-1 to the Hershey Bears in front of 4,045 at the DCU Center. 

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May 1, 2015

Sharks Play Final Game

In their final game, the Worcester Sharks lost 10-4 to the Hershey Bears, losing the playoff series 3-1. 

In 9 seasons in Worcester, the Sharks made the playoffs 4 times, never advancing past the second round. 

Notable players in Worcester Sharks history include Jonathan Cheechoo, Sandis Ozolinsh, Joe Pavelski and Claude Lemieux. 

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February 6-7, 2016

Shrewsbury Youth Hockey Hosts First Ever Pond Hockey Tournament

The Shrewsbury Youth Hockey Association held the First Annual Pond Hockey Classic, at Shrewsbury's historic Dean Park. 

The Worcester Junior Sharks were among 24 teams that participated the tournament. 

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February 8, 2016

ECHL Announces Team Coming to Worcester

The ECHL announced that the league's board of governors unanimously approved the new membership application from Worcester Pro Hockey LLC.

The first puck drop for the new franchise is set for the 2017-18 season, a season that also marks the 30th anniversary of the ECHL. 

The team name and logo will be announced at a fan fest that is set to take place on April 3, 2016, at the DCU Center.

 
 

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