NHL Neutral Site Games

For two seasons in the early 1990s, the National Hockey League played a series of neutral-site, regular-season games in non-NHL cities and expanded its regular-season schedule from 82 games to 84 to accommodate them. They may have been used to gauge interest in potential expansion/relocation cities, but three of the four markets with the highest attendance in the limited showcase of games never did receive new or relocated teams.

With mostly poor weeknight dates – there were only four Friday and seven Sunday dates, and no Saturdays among the 50 games – it’s not a huge surprise that the average attendance for the series of games was just 11,196. The experiment wasn’t repeated in the lockout-abbreviated 1994-95 season, nor has it been attempted in the years since.

Day
Date
Game
Arena
City
Crowd
Tue10/13/1992Calgary 4, Minnesota 3SaskPlaceSaskatoon8,783
Tue10/20/1992Toronto 5, Ottawa 3Copps ColiseumHamilton7,186
Tue11/3/1992Washington 4, Chicago 1Market Square ArenaIndianapolis8,792
Tue11/17/1992Quebec 3, Toronto 1Copps ColiseumHamilton17,026
Wed11/18/1992New Jersey 3, Buffalo 2Copps ColiseumHamilton6,972
Tue12/1/1992Los Angeles 6, Chicago 3Bradley CenterMilwaukee16,292
Tue12/8/1992Montreal 5, Los Angeles 5Arizona Veterans Memorial ColiseumPhoenix12,276
Wed12/9/1992NY Rangers 6, Tampa Bay 5Miami ArenaMiami12,842
Sun12/13/1992NY Islanders 4, Edmonton 1Myriad Convention CenterOklahoma City11,110
Tue12/15/1992St. Louis 4, NY Islanders 3Reunion ArenaDallas11,251
Mon1/4/1993Montreal 2, San Jose 1ARCO ArenaSacramento11,814
Mon1/18/1993Winnipeg 8, Hartford 7SaskPlaceSaskatoon7,756
Mon2/8/1993Pittsburgh 4, Boston 0The OmniAtlanta12,572
Tue2/9/1993St. Louis 3, Hartford 1Carver ArenaPeoria9,013
Tue2/16/1993Calgary 4, Philadelphia 4 (OT)Riverfront ColiseumCincinnati7,973
Fri2/19/1993Quebec 5, Tampa Bay 2Halifax Metro CentreHalifax9,584
Mon2/22/1993NY Rangers 4, San Jose 0ARCO ArenaSacramento13,633
Mon2/22/1993Detroit 5, Philadelphia 5 (OT)Richfield ColiseumCleveland13,382
Tue2/23/1993Winnipeg 8, Ottawa 2SaskPlaceSaskatoon7,245
Mon3/1/1993Vancouver 5, Buffalo 2Copps ColiseumHamilton17,098
Thu3/11/1993Minnesota 4, Vancouver 3SaskPlaceSaskatoon12,006
Tue3/16/1993Boston 3, New Jersey 1Providence Civic CenterProvidence10,554
Tue3/16/1993Washington 4, Detroit 2Bradley CenterMilwaukee9,836
Sun3/21/1993Pittsburgh 6, Edmonton 4Richfield ColiseumCleveland18,782
Thu10/21/1993St. Louis 5, San Jose 2ARCO ArenaSacramento7,144
Sun10/31/1993NY Rangers 4, New Jersey 1Halifax Metro CentreHalifax8,200
Wed11/3/1993Pittsburgh 6, Buffalo 2ARCO ArenaSacramento10,117
Tue11/9/1993Anaheim 4, Dallas 2America West ArenaPhoenix8,143
Thu11/18/1993NY Islanders 5, Montreal 1Copps ColiseumHamilton17,008
Thu12/9/1993Dallas 6, Ottawa 1Target CenterMinneapolis14,058
Thu12/23/1993Vancouver 4, Calgary 3SaskPlaceSaskatoon11,429
Fri12/31/1993Philadelphia 4, Boston 3Target CenterMinneapolis10,855
Tue1/4/1994Tampa Bay 1, Toronto 0Copps ColiseumHamilton17,526
Wed1/5/1994Montreal 2, Quebec 0America West ArenaPhoenix11,393
Thu1/6/1994St. Louis 2, Hartford 1Richfield ColiseumCleveland6,956
Sun1/16/1994Detroit 6, Tampa Bay 3Target CenterMinneapolis8,764
Mon1/24/1994Calgary 3, Los Angeles 3 (OT)America West ArenaPhoenix14,864
Mon1/24/1994Vancouver 5, Edmonton 4 (OT)SaskPlaceSaskatoon10,801
Wed2/2/1994Washington 5, Philadelphia 2Richfield ColiseumCleveland8,312
Tue2/8/1994San Jose 4, Chicago 3ARCO ArenaSacramento14,182
Tue2/22/1994Florida 3, Winnipeg 2Copps ColiseumHamilton6,291
Thu2/24/1994Detroit 3, Hartford 0Richfield ColiseumCleveland11,621
Fri3/4/1994Winnipeg 6, Ottawa 1Target CenterMinneapolis6,388
Tue3/8/1994Chicago 3, Anaheim 0America West ArenaPhoenix13,847
Wed3/9/1994NY Rangers 7, Washington 5Halifax Metro CentreHalifax9,200
Fri3/18/1994Buffalo 2, NY Islanders 2 (OT)Target CenterMinneapolis8,016
Wed3/23/1994Florida 1, Toronto 1 (OT)Copps ColiseumHamilton17,096
Sun3/27/1994New Jersey 5, Quebec 2Target CenterMinneapolis6,222
Sun4/3/1994Pittsburgh 6, Boston 2Richfield ColiseumCleveland17,224
Sun4/3/1994Los Angeles 6, Edmonton 1ARCO ArenaSacramento10,363

Here’s a chart of cities ranked by their average attendance for their neutral-site games:

City
G
Total
Average
Hamilton8106,20313,275
Milwaukee226,12813,064
Miami – x112,84212,842
Cleveland676,27712,713
Atlanta -x112,57212,572
Phoenix -x560,52312,105
Dallas -x111,25111,251
Sacramento667,25311,209
Oklahoma City111,11011,110
Providence110,55410,554
Saskatoon658,0209,670
Minneapolis -x654,3039,051
Peoria19,0139,013
Halifax326,9848,995
Indianapolis18,7928,792
Cincinnati17,9737,973
TOTALS50559,79811,196
x=Market later received an NHL franchise

 

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