Sunday, February 8, 2009

UNB Home Attendance Up, Players Graduating

Congratulations to the UNB V-Reds who once again led the conference in home attendance. According to the the AUS website's stats page, after last night the average home attendance per game this season came in at 2495. That up from 2300 last year, 2398 back in 2006-2007, and is the highest we could find this decade. Who knows, maybe a record? This doesn't include pre-season exhibition, or the grand-slam games against the Islanders Rookies, UMaine, or Boston College.

One has to think if not for a few bad weather days, and rescheduled game vs Acadia the 2500 barrier would have been broken.

So how good is 2495? We found 7 QMJHL teams that average fewer fans per game. Granted, they play more games, but they're also backed by private ownership, and fully marketed like you'd expect from a revenue-generating spectator sport franchise, not public, non-profit entities.

Also, if you read the handouts at Saturday night's game you probably saw the list of players who are eligible to graduate this year. What we know for sure is Jimmy Cuddihy, Robert Pearce, and Dustin Friesen are all 5th year and won't be back. Justin Dacosta (year 3) still has 2 years of eligibility remaining if he chooses to return. David Bowman joined the V-Reds in 2006-07, and is in his 3rd year with the team. He played a year in the ECHL, which put his eligibilty at year 4, so he has 1 year of eligibility left, but whether he's finished school or ready to move on is up to him. Justin McCutcheon is listed as a 4th year player on the CIS site and is also a question mark. Our best guess - some will play out their eligibility, some won't. But that drama can wait until the summer, 2008-09 is just getting interesting.

10 comments:

STUTOMMIES.COM said...

Great site guys. Posted a link on the front page at stutommies.com and will post a permanent link later. Love ya Squirrels!!

David said...

In the CIS, only Lakehead (average 2900-3000) outdraws UNB at home, and as the article hints at, that team is run as a public-private partnership with the university only holding one share, and of course controlling eligibility. Thunder Bay is a much larger market than Fredericton (although it is hurting economically) and the ThunderWolves don't have to compete with a Major Junior team, pro team, or another university team in their market.

I also agree that if Acadia had not botched their travel on a stormy weekend (opting to stay in Amherst on the Friday night on the wrong side of the Trantramar Marshes) that game could have drawn over 3000 and UNB would have exceeded the 2500 average for the first time.

David said...

I should also add that the 5th year of play at UNB is not always a given ... at end of each season the players and MacDougall have meetings where the players' future is discussed. As a result some decide not to come back, perhaps encouraged to do so. If you have enough credits to graduate, then you need to be be able to get into a graduate program in your last year, or be in a five year program like BRSS/BEd (which is Freisen's case). Unlike the NCAA, you have to be a full-time student and can't just take a couple of bird courses so you can play your final year. On the flip side, some guys like Mike Ouzas come in with a plan, and lots of credits, and graduate in two or three years.

Anonymous said...

Hennigar, for instance, actually wanted to come back for a fifth year. MacDougall basically told him he had done all he could do and it was time to go.
I suspect Jon Harty won't do his five years either. My understanding is, he's been taking courses on line for a couple of years and decided to come full time this year rather than go back to the WHL as an overage player so that he could expediate the process.

Mike Sanderson said...

I'm more interested to see who UNB will bring in as recruits for next year. They always seem to be able to recruit extremely well, and deserve the most credit for that.

They are losing a large chunk of their offensive depth in Cuddihy and Pearce, though Pearce has been hurt through a bit of his career at UNB. Tremblay and Dickson stepped up a lot this year in controlling the play without Hennigar. Tremblay is a more dynamic player than last year and even more fun to watch.

McCutcheon coming back for a half year doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. I have a feeling you'll see him next year.

I'd be worried as to who the rock on D will be next year. With Friesen leaving, they are missing their best defenceman at moving the puck out and slowing the game down. I don't see Bowman jumping his game up to that level of controlling a game from the back end.

Ken C said...

Could be right, Mike. I think the continued development of guys like Lynes, Clendenning, and Seymour will more than offset Pearce, who other than last year hasn't been a substantial point producer, but more of a banging, crashing, gritty energy guy. UNB has that in Seymour and Hodgson enough.
Between whatever pieces they land, and Daine Todd, the loss of Cuddihy should be offset.

On D, you're right. Can't replace Friesen, but Stamler looks like he's going to try. They'll need to find a body or two back there.

Oh well, worst case scenario, take comfort in the fact the other ranked teams are likely losing some big names as well, and UNB should be able to keep pace and give itself a chance to win.

I'm more worried about this year than next year.

Mike Sanderson said...

We didn't even look at Todd. There has got to be a worry that he might jump ship for the pros. He was one of the last cuts at the Yotes camp last year.

David said...

Daine will be coming off surgery. UNB is applying for him to get his first year of eligibility back, as he didn't play any conference games this season. Of course this wold make you then eligible for rookie awards ... Stamler is his roommate. To me these are all positive sings that he will be back.

Btw, don't forget David Bowman is planning to graduate so UNB will be minus two veteran, key d-men next season, putting more pressure on the younger guys ...

UNB Bruins Fan said...

Getting back to the attendence thing...as someone who only really started following UNB in 2002 when I started school there and wasn't around for their success in the late 1990's I was curious, from the people who have followed them for awhile, what the attendence figures were like for those years (the 1996-2000 range, especially 1998 when they won their first Championship)?

UNB Bruins Fan said...

I would guess that Todd's injury would probably end any chance of him going pro..between teams being reluctant to take a chance on him and the fact he probably won't be quite the same player as he was...