Formerly known as the Lake Erie Monsters, this AHL team has served as the affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League. That said since 2016 they were renamed the Cleveland Monsters and they continue to draw more fans each and every year. Though the on-ice performance hasn’t been anything to write home about, it’s done nothing to deter those who come and pack the seats when the puck is dropped. For example, in the past two seasons, the Monsters have a combined total of 44 wins.
The last two seasons have essentially been losing seasons for them, but throughout, they’ve also been grappling with the pandemic. As with all other sports, the AHL faced adversity when it came to handling not only a shortened season but also the decision to not award the Calder Cup. The Calder Cup is the AHL equivalent of winning the Stanley Cup basically, it’s why these teams work so hard and I can imagine it’s difficult to find motivation when the Cup isn’t awarded as it usually is. A little tidbit here, the last time the Monsters claimed the cup was the 2015-16 AHL season, their last year actually being named the Lake Erie Monsters. Still, throughout this all, the pandemic, the knowledge of no Calder Cup, the Cleveland Monsters still finished top three in league attendance.
For the 9th year straight!
Since the 2013-14 season, the Monsters have consistently gotten fans to pack the seats and excelled in ticket sales. It makes sense that the Cleveland Monsters would finish so high in attendance, after all, Cleveland is a great market for sports. In fact, earlier this year on January 29th, the team drew in 12,194 fans to their home rink. This was the highest single-game ticket sales for a regular-season Monsters game in their 15-year history! This is all despite the fact that the team finished with a last-place record of 28-35-8-5, eight and five being overtime losses and shootout losses respectively. This season the Monsters finished 2nd in AHL attendance, drawing in “7,180 fans per game.”
There is a lot to look forward to in regards to the Cleveland Monsters and their popularity among fans. Furthermore, I’d like to add that I think hockey is by far the most enjoyable sports event to attend in person. The atmosphere is absolutely electric, regardless of what team is playing because it’s so fast-paced and hard-hitting. It’s a perfect situation in a big market like Cleveland, that attendance would just continue to explode post-pandemic, after players faced truncated attendance policies. With the Cleveland Monsters being so popular, we as fans can only hope that means they have another quest for the Calder in the future.
Via: Scalzo, Joe. “Monster Comeback: Despite Poor Record, Cleveland’s AHL Team Draws Good Crowds.” Crain’s Cleveland Business, 5 May 2022, https://www.crainscleveland.com/joe-scalzo-blog/cleveland-monsters-bounce-back-pandemic-shortened-ahl-season
Monsters, Cleveland. Cleveland Monsters, https://www.clevelandmonsters.com/
Theahl.com | The American Hockey League, https://theahl.com/stats/player-stats.