I walked up to the box office at Cool Insuring Arena (still seems weird to call it something other than Glens Falls Civic Center) to get tickets to Friday night's game expecting to have a lot of choices for seats.
If you have been going to hockey games at the old barn for a few years, you know that the early round playoff games usually don't draw well, as corporate season ticket holders often don't pony up for playoff tickets and many fans have gotten spoiled by some of the many deep Adirondack playoff runs over the years.
So I was pleasantly surprised to have to work with the arena box office guy to find good seats for my group. A good crowd for a hockey playoff game is a fun thing to be a part of, and Friday's game did not disappoint. The crowd was loud and the Thunder responded.
Maybe the $1 beers helped. (Okay, I'm sure that helped). What I have noticed the last year or two is that the arena management, now that it is a local group with an interest in the team's success, is pulling out all stops to get butts in the seats, and it seems to be working.
Ticket discounts, promotions with other businesses, concession deals, they all seem to be getting fans in the building. Having a good team helps too, and the result has been attendance was up significantly this season.
Wednesday's game will be a test, as a mid-week game during the school year is always tough. But the team is offering $10 tickets through the Thunder website if purchased by midnight Tuesday. And Saturday they are offering a discount partnering with Burger King. Those are good moves to get fans who may be on the fence to buy in.
The Thunder have a 2-1 series lead, and can take a big step Wednesday toward winning the series. Each playoff home game is a big financial help to the coalition that stepped up to run the arena. Having the historic building downtown is a big part of the quality of life many of us enjoy around here.
And if we don't support them now, they may not be here that cold February night a few years from now when you are looking for something to do and want to go to a hockey game or high school hoops game.
-- Don Lehman