QMJHL Attendance Trends and Regulations: What You Need to Know

2024-02-01 21:55:00

The month of January is behind us and the sample of 421 games played so far in the QMJHL is now large enough to observe trends.

With the two games played last night, in Val-d’Or and Quebec, a total of 1,358,982 spectators have attended the matches so far in the 18 amphitheaters on the circuit.

This figure is therefore 96,563 higher than the total of 1,262,419 supporters at the end of January at the same date last year.

With an average of 3,227 spectators per game for the months of September to January, the QMJHL has the right to dream of reaching 2 million total spectators for the first time since the 2018-2019 campaign.

Twelve times in its history, the QMJHL and its 18 teams have managed to attract 2 million spectators during the regular season. However, the pandemic and its aftermath seemed to have got the better of this magical plateau in recent years.

With the races to the sectional championships and the playoffs for the teams at the bottom of the ranking, it is reasonable to believe that the Quebec Maritime Junior Hockey League will return to this significant plateau in 2023-2024.

To say that with the new regulations prohibiting fights, many argued that the crowds were to suffer. It seems that the opposite is happening, to the great pleasure of the circuit managers and the various teams.

Speaking of the new regulations on fighting, know that things are going rather well. As of this writing, there have only been 23 fights after 421 matches. Last year at the same date, there were 61.

We are therefore talking about three times fewer battles this year. Remember that players who drop the gloves are now expelled from the match instead of the old 5 and 10 minute penalties.

The most conservative also believed that the disappearance of the fights would have negative effects in the eyes of professional recruiters. Certainly, there are not many QMJHL players on the lists this year, but it is a cyclical phenomenon which has nothing to do with the new regulations.

An experienced NHL recruiter told me on condition of anonymity a few days ago that this is a subject that has never been discussed in his team’s various mid-season meetings. His quote: “There are other ways to validate the character of players than to see them engage in combat. » It is true to say it… other times, other customs!

A dozen players listed in the first round by the NHL Central Scouting in North America play in leagues where fighting is prohibited. It’s a safe bet that this won’t prevent them from being claimed. Meanwhile, those in the QMJHL are playing in front of the best crowds to have passed through the turnstiles in the last five years.

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