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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Crowds at Mellon Arena Up 33 Percent Over 2003-04; NHL Sets Regular Season Attendance Record

The Pittsburgh Penguins led the National Hockey League in increased attendance for the 2005-06 season, according to figures released today by the NHL. Crowds for Penguins games at Mellon Arena were up 33 percent over the 2003-04 season.

The Penguins averaged 15,804 fans per game, filling Mellon Arena to 93.3 percent of its capacity despite the fact that the club finished in last place in the Atlantic Division. The Pens played to 12 standing-room-only sellouts, and 21 of the 41 regular season games drew crowds of more than 16,000.

“The support of our fans has been phenomenal – they’re the best fans in the NHL,” said Dave Soltesz, the Penguins’ vice president of sales and marketing. “We’re delighted that we could finish it off with a standing-room-only sellout on Monday to see Sidney Crosby score his 100th point. Our fans see that we’re heading in the right direction with exciting young players, and we’re already looking forward to 2006-07.”

The NHL, meanwhile, posted the best attendance figures in its 88-year history, attracting 20,854,169 fans to 1,230 games for an average of 16,955.  Overall, NHL teams played to 91.7 percent of capacity.

The Penguins led the way in increased attendance among individual clubs, followed by Carolina (+27%), Calgary (+16%), Tampa Bay (+15%), Nashville (+10%), Buffalo (+10%), Ottawa (+10%), Boston (+7%), and San Jose (+6%)

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