November 6, 2017

Railers' attendance rebounds after Halloween dropoff

Courtesy/Railers HC
The Worcester Railes won their season opener (pictured here) in front of a sellout crowd at the DCU center, but attendance has been light since.

The average attendance at the three Worcester Railers home games over the weekend had a 73-percent increase over the number of people who attended the minor league hockey match on Halloween, although it still was below the average of the team's predecessor, the Worcester Sharks.

In three ECHL games against the Reading Royals, the Railers averaged 3,682 people in attendance for the matches on Friday (3,411), Saturday (4,132) and Sunday (3,502). The team won the first two games and then lost on Sunday. Its record is 5-3-1-0, and the team is third in its division.

By comparison, the last two seasons the minor league Worcester Sharks played at the DCU Center, their average home attendance was just under 4,000 people.

The Railers sold out their first home game to a crowd of 12,135 -- the first professional hockey in Worcester in two years -- but then saw a significant dropoff in the second home game to 2,130 on Halloween, its only weekday game thus far and where the team was competing against the family-friendly, night-oriented holiday.

The Railers conclude a five-game homestand on Saturday against the Manchester Monarchs.

This is the third minor league hockey team to try to be successful in Worcester, after the Sharks played nine seasons and the Worcester IceCats played 11 seasons between 1994 and 2015 in the AHL, which is one tier higher in the hockey hierarchy.

Railers Owner Cliff Rucker has said his plans for success include having the Railers play a larger role in the community, such as sponsoring nonprofits like the EcoTarium.

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