The NY Islanders enjoyed a late season surge in attendance under Patrick Roy

Dallas Stars v New York Islanders
Dallas Stars v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New York Islanders' late-season surge to the Stanley Cup Playoffs coincided with a late-season surge in attendance at UBS Arena, according to a report in Newsday.

As reported by Laura Albanese, the Islanders' attendance shot up to 17,195 on average over the final 12 games of the regular season, which included 11 sellouts. Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes were also sellouts.

There also appeared to be an infusion of excitement and optimism following the hiring of Patrick Roy as head coach on Jan. 20. Of the 18 regular season home games with Roy behind the bench, 16 of them were sellouts for the arena, now in its third year since opening in November 2021. In comparison, the team averaged 16,075 with Lane Lambert as head coach, with 11 sellouts in 22 games.

However, despite a strong second half, the number of fans attending Isles home games dipped for the third consecutive season to 16,558 on average, slightly below the 16,711 from 2022-23. The outdoor game at MetLife Stadium versus the New York Rangers was not factored into the attendance figures for last season.

The presence of Roy behind the bench served as a shot in the arm for the team and a fanbase that was desperately searching for a reason for optimism as the team squandered third period leads throughout the first half of the season. However, for franchises like the Islanders, who don't automatically sell out every game, their attendance numbers usually rise naturally after the new year when the 'winter sports' of hockey and basketball become more of a focus for sports fans.

While Roy and the team's strong play down the stretch helped, it can't necessarily be counted on to carry over to next season. Overall, the NHL reported a record number of fans attending games this season, but the Islanders were one of just seven teams that saw attendance numbers dip from the previous season.

One thing worth watching is that the organization announced ticket price hikes of 11% per the Newsday article in February, and ongoing challenges regarding parking linger for some fans who were displaced from the Belmont garage because of construction, which could lead to lower attendance numbers at the start of next season.