Over the past three years, the women’s hockey team at Plattsburgh State has outperformed the men’s hockey team by making it further into the playoffs than the men.
The last time the women didn’t make it to the Division III tournament was the 2010-2011 season, while the men haven’t made it to the tournament since 2011-2012. The women have been consistently better than the men for the past three years, winning three Division III championships while the men failed to make it into the tournament. But the women still have lower attendance than the men.
The women so far this year have an average attendance of 471 fans at their games, with their highest attendance being 681 fans against Oswego on Jan. 24. The men’s average attendance this year is 1,773 fans, including 2,021 against Oswego on Dec. 5.
One of the main things that have hurt the attendance at women’s hockey games this season is the time slot that they are given for their games. The women are usually given times at 3 p.m. or 1 p.m., while the men are routinely given the 7 p.m. time slot. This year, the women have only had three games at 7 p.m., prime time to watch hockey.
Why is that? Wouldn’t it make sense to give the prime time spot to the better of the two teams? Do people think it isn’t possible for women to be able to draw for games? That is simply not the case.
In 2014 the University of Tennessee for women’s basketball was able to draw an average of 11,000 fans per games in 18 games. One of the biggest draws in sports is the University of Connecticut Huskies, one of the most winning teams in college sports. They ranked fifth last season in attendance with an average of 8,313 fans in their 18 contests.
Why at PSUC can’t the women’s hockey team draw? Look at the advertisements around the school or ask an average fan when a men’s game is compared to the women’s game. Most of the stuff on campus points students towards men’s hockey and boasts about how great the program is. When I first came to the college, all I heard about was the men’s hockey program was one of the best. Never once did anyone mention the women’s team to me when I was taking the tours or talking to people about PSUC and the sports they had here.
The men’s teams are idolized’ and if you look at Cardinal Points, a lot of the time the top story covered will be men’s hockey. I’m the sports editor, so I have control over that, but that is what most people want to read about.
To be completely honest, I am part of the problem.
Some of the ways this can be changed is by more advertising for the games around campus, changing the times of when the games are and for me, changing the focus of the paper, so it isn’t always focused more on men’s hockey then everything else. It’s time to make the change to ensure that more people know of the dominance of the women’s hockey team and see a spike in attendance.
Email Nick Topping at firstname.lastname@example.org.