Stability has returned to the Quad City Mallards, a team with a once-shaky future.
Friday night, fans streamed into the i-Wireless Center for Game 4 of the first-round Central Hockey League playoff series between the Mallards and the Rapid City Rush.
Fans like Jami Staley said it has already been a great season, and she’s noticed that the number of the Flocks’ fans is growing.
“Yeah, more towards the end, I’ve been seeing a lot more people come out,” said Staley.
Mallards President Bob McNamara said average attendance has increased by nearly 800 fans per game this season. The team has also seen a nearly 50 percent increased in revenue.
“We’ve been able to bring back some fans that hadn’t been here in awhile, we’ve been able to introduce the game to some new fans, and from that standpoint, it’s been phenomenal. And the team has responded on the ice,” said McNamara.
The Mallards also recently signed a new, three-year lease extension with the i-Wireless Center, ensuring hockey will be in the Quad Cities for seasons to come.
“From a fan standpoint, it helps us too if they know that the team is committed to being here. They tend to want to support the team more, understanding that it’s not going to be one and done,” said McNamara.
As the Mallards near the end of their 17th season in the Quad Cities, fans agree that the increased stability has brought success on and off the ice.
“This is probably about our fifth or sixth game this year that we’ve been to. And we’ve got tickets for tomorrow night, so they’ve got to win tonight!” said Darcy Eberts.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that the Mallards beat the Rapid City Rush. I mean, that brought a rush of faith,” said fan Joshua Gibson.
The Mallards will face Rapid City again Saturday night at the i-Wireless Center for Game 5 of the series.