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Although the puck has yet to be dropped for the start of the Monsters fourth season, the team is already winning awards.
Last week, the AHL named the Monsters the league’s 2009-10 Ticket Sales Team of the Year! To go along with that remarkable achievement, the league also recognized the Monsters as one of just two teams in the AHL for “exceptional community service efforts” in the 2009-10 season.
In just their third season in the AHL, the Monsters averaged nearly 6,500 fans per game to finish with the sixth-best overall attendance in the 29-team league. The team has consistently improved at the gates by finishing 11th in the inaugural season and 9th in their second season.
In 2009-10 the Monsters had two of the top 10 highest-attended games in the regular season in the AHL. The team drew 18,626 fans on January 22nd for Shaq Bobblehead night. That crowd is the sixth-highest attended game in the 74-year regular season history of the AHL, and the largest crowd in Monsters franchise history.
The 18,626 fans that came out to watch the Monsters beat the Texas Stars in overtime in late January was also the second-highest in the 2009-10 AHL regular season and Lake Erie’s crowd of 14,103 on April 10th was the 10th largest in the AHL this season!
The Monsters were also recognized for their contributions to the Northeast Ohio region in 2009-10. Last season, the Monsters raised $450,000 through auctions, charities and ticket donations.
The team and players were particularly generous during the holiday season, handing out Thanksgiving dinners to underprivileged families at St. Martin de Porres Center, hosting toy drives and distributing toys to needy children, and joining the Cavaliers in hosting families at The Q to pick out trees, decorate cookies and meet Santa.
Throughout the year, the Monsters collected approximately 350 pounds of food for donation. When the team hosted its second annual “Tip-A-Monster” dinner at Local Heroes, they raised more than $5,000 for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County.
When the Monsters were not on the ice for practice or a game, they were on the slippery surface coaching local youth teams with their Mega Monsters program and staying on the ice after practice to sign autographs and skate with fans at their Tour With the Monsters event. As well, the Monsters hosted underprivileged children at The Q, teaching them to skate at the team’s Take the Ice program.
If the Monsters ever decide to switch professions, a career in teaching would be a viable alternative. During the season, some of the French-Canadian Monsters were guest speakers at high school French class, teaching the students the language and discussing the importance of being fluent in two tongues.
The team also visited several local elementary schools to teach students the values of respect and education at the Monsters Respect Tour. Following the lesson, the team and mascot Sully would stay around to sign autographs and pass out tickets to each student for an upcoming game.
And while the Monsters are professionals of their trade on the ice, it is safe to say they will not be taking the game of hockey off frozen water anytime soon. In their second annual Noodle Hockey game, the Monsters were defeated by the St. Mary of the Woods Assisted Living Home’s “Battling Beagles” noodle hockey team.
Just three years into existence, the Lake Erie Monsters have already solidified themselves as one of the best organizations in the AHL. If the team is earning awards in the summer months, one can only imagine what will be in store when the puck drops on the fourth season in October.
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