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HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Cougars attendance up nearly 30 %) April 5, 2024 EDITION 987

The Prince George Cougars have done their part by winning and the fans have responded by filling the seats at CN Centre.

In the last three home games for the Cougars, attendance has been a full house of 6,029 on March 23rd against the Kamloops Blazers to conclude the regular season followed by 5,692 on March 29th and 5,678 on March 30th in the first two playoff games against the Spokane Chiefs.

Over 34 regular season home games the Cougars averaged 3,519 fans, the second most in the last 20 years, slightly behind the 3,626 average from the 2016-17 season.

Yes, that is still nearly 600 below the league average, however, on a percentage basis Prince George is showing the biggest increase.

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According to the WHL,  the Cougars led the league on a percentage basis in increased attendance, enjoying a 29% year-over-year spike going from 2,755 in 2022-23 to 3,519 in 23-24.

Prince George ranked 15th out of 22 teams in average per game attendance ahead of Regina, Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, Wenatchee, Brandon, Prince Albert and Swift Current.

This has been the third straight season that the Cougars attendance climbed by roughly 800 fans jumping from 1,915 in 21-22 to 2,755 in 22-23 and then the 3,519 in 23-24.

(If you are curious the Cougars playoff attendance in 2017 against Portland after the first place finish in the B.C. Division was 5,418 (Friday), 4,141 (Sunday) and 5,822 (Saturday) for an average of 5,127)

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are always going to be difficult games to attract a large crowd, not just in Prince George but around the league.

On a prime Friday night (11 games) the Cougars had in this order, crowds of 2,825, 2,692, 4,304, 4,357, 2,899, 2,820, 2,985, 2,866, 3070, 3,188, and 3,743, for an average of 3,250.

On Saturday (which included feature nights) the numbers (10 games) were very encouraging and in this order were 2,399, 2,717, 4,516, 5,780, 3,353, 6,009, 3,034, 3,960, 4,486 and 6,029 for an average of 4,228.

The Cougars also filled CN Centre with 6,027 on Family Day, Monday, Feb. 19th.

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The two Sunday home games had crowds of 5,628 on October 22nd and 3,543 on Feb. 4th.

The Wednesday and Thursday home games right after Christmas had large turnouts with 4,528 on Dec. 27th and 4,112 on Dec. 28th.

11 of the 34 home games (which was about 32%) had more than 4,000 people in the stands with five of those games in excess of 5,000.

A comparison of playoff home games shows a huge spike.

Just two years ago in 2022 the Cougars only had two home games with attendance of 1,821 and 1,727 against Portland.

It should be noted those two games were on a Tuesday and Wednesday after Prince George trailed in the series 2-0.

Last year in 2023 the Cougars had five home games with attendance of 4,369 (Friday against Tri-City), 4,514 (Saturday against Tri-City), 5,383 (Sunday against Tri-City), 4,756 (Tuesday against Seattle) and 4,024 (Wednesday against Seattle).

The average in last year playoffs was 4,609.

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In the two home playoff games this year that average goes up by over 1,000 (to 5,685).

Winning, entertaining hockey with goals galore has been noticed in Prince George to the point where fans are proud to again fill CN Centre in the playoffs.

With success, and the longer the playoff run goes, so too goes the demand for a P.G. Cougars ticket.

It has been many years but they are a hot commodity again.


The WHL has announced (providing the figures below) that league-wide regular season attendance has surpassed 3,000,000 for the first time since 2018-19, representing the highest per-game attendance rate since 2019-20.

WHL Regular Season Total Attendance
2023-24: 3,076,922
2022-23: 2,913,512
2021-22: 2,397,588
2020-21: N/A
2019-20*: 2,882,799
WHL Regular Season Per Game Attendance
2023-24: 4,114
2022-23: 3,895
2021-22: 3,205
2020-21: N/A
2019-20*: 4,154
Despite having the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Edmonton Oil Kings led the league in attendance averaging 7,404 followed by Everett at 6,069, Spokane at 6,044 with Saskatoon 4th at 5,166.


Cat Scan podcast:

This is season six of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that predominately features the PG Cougars.

This week’s guest is former Prince George Cougar and now with the Texas Stars of the AHL, Chase Wheatcroft.



The Oakland As are moving to Sacramento for at least three years starting in 2025. But wait, doesn’t Sacramento already have a minor league team?

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*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California

In recent interviews, without his longtime interpreter, Shohei Ohtani seems a bit tentative. In fact, I hear he’s been offered the lead in ‘Lost in Translation 2’.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Three things April’s Ice Marathon, where runners cross the hard, snowy surface of the Artic Ocean, is famous for:

3: Cold starts;
2. Frozen poles;
1. Icy cracks;

*Comedy writer RJ Currie of Winnipeg

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He is in his 11th year as the radio colour commentator for the Prince George Cougars home games. Hartley has been on the airwaves in PG since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).


Something going on in the Prince George area you think people should know about?
Send us a news tip by emailing [email protected].

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