Thousands of Capital Region Residents Mistakenly Discover Hockey Exists in Albany
By Pug Ransom
Published December 15th, 2014
Times Union Center
ALBANY — The Albany Devils played Saturday before a capacity crowd, which filled the Times Union Center mistakenly believing the Home Show was in town.
“I knew there was something strange when I left the dressing room, stepped onto the ice and there were people in the stands,” said Devils defenseman Andrej Hoeffelsted.
Albany is routinely in the basement of the American Hockey League when it comes to attendance, and during the 2013-2014 season ranked 27th out of the league’s 30 teams.
League-leading Hershey averaged 9,664 people per game this past season, according to AHL figures, while Albany averaged just 3,360. Portland came in last with an average attendance of 2,182.
“I didn’t even know we had a hockey team in Albany,” said Gladys Wainwright, a lifelong city resident. “I came to the arena because I wanted a new bathtub.”
Times Union Center spokesman Burt Wilkerson said Home Show signs printed with the wrong date were to blame for the crowd’s misunderstanding. When asked whether the misprints were done purposely to attract people to the Devil’s game under false pretense, Wilkerson bluntly replied, “next question.”
The Devils did give fans a reason to cheer Saturday, as they came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period before netting the winner in overtime on shot from the point that was deflected in by Albany winger Jacques Watson. However, by midway through the first period, the crowd of 17,000 had dwindled down to just more than 2,300 once people learned there was no Home Show.
“I guess I have to go to Lowe’s now,” a frustrated Wainwright said, shaking her head as she left the arena. “Oh, for Pete’s sake.”