There’s a world of difference for the Oshawa Generals between this year and last season. A year ago, the team was poised to go on a run that ended with a Memorial Cup championship. This year, with just a handful of games left in the 2015-2016 regular season the Generals are just trying to qualify for the playoffs. Yet, the Generals have somehow managed to maintain their popularity during what has been called a ‘rebuilding year.’
Andrew Gilbank, the digital marketing coordinator for the Oshawa Generals said that despite where the Generals are in the standings, fans are still coming in and almost filling the General Motors Centre on most nights. For the 2015-2016 season, the Generals average attendance is third best in the Ontario Hockey League, averaging more than 5,200 at home games. This is just after the London Knights who have the most with more than 9,000 and then the Kitchener Rangers who have just under 7,000.
Gilbank said one thing the Generals do is, “don’t build up a specific player.” So although there are players like the new captain Anthony Cirelli and Kenny Huether, Eric Henderson who they could focus on, the Generals try to maintain building the team up as one, and not just one player.
The Oshawa Generals official Twitter page has more than 20,000 followers and contests are incorporated into their Twitter page. This is to keep the fans engaged, even when the Generals aren’t playing. Some of the prizes include Generals merchandise and tickets.
Gilbank said that even though keeping the fans coming to games hasn’t been a problem it is still important to make sure fans are taking part in game days and making sure intermissions are “interactive and engaging for fans.”
Despite where the Generals are in the standings, the passion and support from fans of the team has made this year the most successful in attendance at home games.
There are only three games left in the regular season, two away games and one home game. The Generals are away March 16, playing against Mississauga. The puck drops at 7 p.m.