Updated: April 24, 2012 at 12:00 am
Colorado College can’t sell the return of Jaden Schwartz because the team’s leading point producer bolted for the NHL. And it can’t sell the thrill of watching a team that made the NCAA Tournament since the Tigers flopped. So it’s selling an attractive home schedule.
NCAA Tournament qualifiers Denver, North Dakota, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and Massachusetts-Lowell, as well as New Hampshire and Yale, will visit World Arena next season, and CC hopes that’s enough of an incentive for fans to renew their season tickets.
Renewal notices have been sent to thousands of CC season-ticket holders, with prices the same as last season – ranging from $149 to $289 for the upper deck and $309 to $409 for the lower bowl if purchased by May 14. There’s a slight price increase for most sections after May 14, however, it’s significantly cheaper than the individual-game prices, ranging from $9 to $40, and CC offers a no-interest, five-month payment plan. Plus, season-ticket packages include the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.
Despite an 18-16-2 finish soured by a first-round exit in the WCHA playoffs, CC brought 135,078 fans to 7,380-seat World Arena over 20 games, with five sellouts, an average of 6,754 that was its highest in five years. That put CC fifth nationally in average attendance and total attendance, and CC was eighth in filling 92 percent of its arena capacity.
Starting goaltender Josh Thorimbert will be back with the Tigers, and Schwartz’s brother, Rylan, isn’t expected to sign a professional contract after leading CC with 23 goals. It’s the final season in the WCHA for CC, which will jump to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013-14, and CC still has a waiting list of more than 200 people searching for lower-bowl tickets and prime upper-deck seats, CC assistant athletic director Scott Lowenberg said.
“It is by far the No. 1 (sporting) event in Colorado Springs during the winter months, and people want to be a part of that big-time atmosphere,” Lowenberg said, noting that he has sold 300-plus new season tickets, including to people in Castle Rock, Divide, Peyton, Pueblo and Trinidad in the past month. He said the interest is “pretty amazing for a school with an enrollment of 2,000 students. We truly are the community’s team. Most of our fans are not CC alums. They are residents of all ages from southern Colorado that have become fans.”
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