UK TOP FLIGHT SEES 6.8% RISE IN ATTENDANCES

The hockey season has come to an abrupt end in most European countries – including the UK – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It did so in a season that saw attendance figures roar in most countries before arenas had to shut the door to help prevent the virus from spreading.

The top 11 European countries in term of attendance in the top league all saw the numbers increase and Switzerland’s National League, again the league with the highest attendance, broke the 7,000 mark in average attendance as the first ice hockey league in Europe.

This was one of the results in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s annual European attendance study.

The Elite League saw a healthy rise of 6.8% and is eighth in the European table of average attendances at 3,043.

Sheffield Steelers moved up to 28th in the individual club attendance table (6,610), Nottingham are 49th (5,504) and Belfast 80th (4,387).

Steelers owner, Tony Smith, said: “The Steelers product inside the Fly DSA Arena is becoming more and more popular every year.

“We can’t thank our supporters enough for their dedication and fanatical support.

“On the ice, we have provided the fans with a fast, exciting team that brought back the passion to the arena.

“Off the ice, we have worked day and night to attract new fans to the sport of ice hockey and, in particular, the Steelers.

“Last year 35th, this year 28th, we are determined to continue the hard work to make the Steelers one of the top 20 attended clubs in Europe.”