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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Crowds at Mellon Arena Up 36 Percent Over December, 2003; NHL Sets December Attendance Record

The Pittsburgh Penguins drew an average crowd of 16,638 for eight December home games, an increase of 36 percent over December, 2003 - the largest attendance increase of any team in the National Hockey League.

The NHL, rebounding dramatically from a work stoppage that wiped out the 2004-05 season, posted the best December attendance in its 88-year history, attracting 3,382,628 fans to 200 games and setting an attendance record for the third consecutive month. The average NHL crowd in December was 16,913, and league arenas were filled to 91.7 percent capacity.

The Penguins led the way in increased December attendance among individual clubs, followed by Tampa Bay (+24%), Calgary (+21%), Boston (+21%), Carolina (+19%), Nashville (+14%), Ottawa (+13%), San Jose (+10%) and Florida (+9%).

The Penguins had standing-room-only sellouts for four of their eight home games in December and had only one crowd less than 16,000 fans.

Overall this season, the Penguins have drawn an average crowd of 16,277 to their 20 home games - filling Mellon Arena to 96.1 percent of its capacity. They have nine standing-room-only sellouts and 15 crowds larger than 16,000.

The Penguins, who play in Atlanta tomorrow tonight, return home on Saturday to play the second half of a home-and-home with the Thrashers at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, please call 412-642-PENS or 1-800-642-PENS.

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