By Zachary Baru
Unfortunately, sports in Springfield tend to have the attendance discussed more than the actual score of the games. And yes, the same goes for this past weekend of playoff hockey at the MassMutal Center.
While American Hockey League playoff attendance picks up in the later rounds, the Springfield Falcons had a great opportunity for two highly attended games over the weekend, with games on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Saturday night's attendance was 3,705, while Sunday drew only 2,369 fans for a late afternoon start.
Saturday's attendance was respectable, but still lower than what it could have been. And as for Sunday, the Celtics' playoff game earlier that afternoon should not really be used as an excuse. Falcons fans have been demanding playoff hockey for so long, and now that it is here, not one attendance has hit 4,000.
As the Calder Cup playoffs pick up momentum, attendance should rise. If the Falcons fail to win one of their next two games in Manchester, a decisive game 5 will take place in Springfield on Sunday, May 5. Hoopefully the Falcons will already be on to the second round by then, but if not, Falcons fans can certainly do better than 3,700 fans.
For ticket sales, the playoffs are much different than the regular season. Many of the promotions that take place during the regular season do not occur in the postseason, creating a reliance on strong walk-up sales.
Fans, what more can the Falcons do? Playoff hockey in Springfield on two consecutive weekend dates, and this is the support they receive? We can do better, and we have to do better. Bruce Landon has been saving hockey in Springfield for many years, taking the role of Batman to this city's hockey team. It is time fans play their role, and fill those seats in the MassMutual Center.
Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.