The NHL has released the 2017-2018 schedule for the Minnesota Wild. What does this have to do with the Gophers? Well, potentially quite a bit, at least when it comes to Saturday night hockey attendance this season.
Of the other 3 home weekends, one sees the Wild host on Friday and another features NHL teams off for the All-Star game.— Nate Wells (@gopherstate) June 22, 2017
The Gophers host 9 weekend series during the upcoming season. The Wild are playing home games at the same time during 7 of those series:
- Penn State (10/14): Saturday night game of first home (and Big Ten) series
- Clarkson (10/28): Saturday night game
- Michigan State (11/4): Saturday night game
- Wisconsin (12/2): Saturday night game
- Army (12/29): Friday night game
- Michigan (1/13): Saturday night game
- Ohio State (2/17): Saturday night game
This stinks for a couple of reasons. Gophers fans are often Wild fans and it’s never fun when two teams you love play at the same time. In terms of attendance and ticket sales, you can probably count on the conflicting games as being great examples of announced and actual attendance being out of whack (i.e. don’t be shocked if announced attendance for Clarkson is 9K plus but it looks like there are 3K people there). If the Wild are good I would also expect this to negatively affect the U’s early single game and walk-up sales for many of these games (especially Clarkson and Army).
Ultimately this isn’t a big deal, just a bad draw for the Gophers and an annoyance fans and the U will have to put up with.