Crowds at Sheffield Steelers games have surged since attendances at sporting events were restored to normal after pandemic restrictions.
The club has seen a run of 22,891 fans through the doors in just three games and hope to make it four straight home matches with over 7,000 fans when they take on Cardiff in the Challenge Cup Semi-Finals. They have gone over the 7,000 mark eight times already this season.
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"It is that hard work, not just over the past few weeks or months but over the last 10 years, that has seen our attendances rise even in this post-pandemic and interrupted season," said owner Tony Smith.
"We want even more people cheering us on. There is a lot of competition out there for people’s attention and support – the cinema, bowling, other great sports and entertainment – we can’t take our foot off the gas."
Across the Pennines, Manchester Storm have seen 14,089 fans across eight games - an average of 1,761 over two months for the organisation that averaged 1,365 in 2019/20. They were sold out this weekend against Sheffield.
In Wales, Cardiff Devils’ average crowd is 3,036 at a 3,100-seater venue.
Dom Stokes, head of live Events and Venues for Sheffield City Trust, is delighted with the Steelers’ figures.
He said: “The partnership with the Sheffield Steelers is the most important relationship to the success of the Utilita Arena Sheffield and the Ice Hockey events we host are key to Sheffield’s success as a major events destination.
"We are the number one ice hockey stadium in the UK and it has been well documented about the levels of investment that have been put into the venue to ensure that the most successful ice hockey team in the UK and our passionate fans have the very best facilities.
“It is fantastic to see the Sheffield Steelers and other teams have such encouraging numbers coming through the door despite the turbulent times we have seen and continue to see. This can only be positive for the future growth of the sport here in Sheffield and across the country.”