|The Wheat Kings haven't been drawing big crowds this season|
The club's average attendance is down 378 fans per game as compared to last season and, last week, the team had less than 3,000 fans for a game for the first time in nearly seven years.
This season's average of 3,763 fans per game is also down just over 12 per cent from the team's average attendance in 2010-2011.
"We're in an industry were your margins just aren't good enough that you can have your average attendance go down 350 per night," said Brandon general manager Kelly McCrimmon this past weekend, "Our arena lease is much more expensive than it was for our team in the past so it's concerning for sure.
The Wheat Kings signed a new five-year lease with the Keystone Centre last May.
At the time, it was acknowledged by both sides that the Wheat Kings would be paying significantly more to the Keystone Centre than they had under terms of the previous 15-year deal,
As far this season, McCrimmon admits the product on the ice isn't up to the organization's usual standards but is asking fans to stick with them.
"I'm sure the confidence of our fans hasn't been shaken. I'm sure they believes we're going to get our team back to where they're used to seeing it," said McCrimmon, "Part of that is that we'd like them to stick with us through a year when we're not as good."
McCrimmon points out that during the team's 15-year lease that ran from 1997 to 2012, the team won more games than any team in the Canadian Hockey League.
The Wheat Kings have drawn more than 4,000 fans just six times in 28 games so far this season including a season-high 4,904 on opening night.
Last year, they attracted crowds of 4,000 or more 26 times in 36 home dates.
McCrimmon feels a couple of other factors have contributing to this year's decrease including a larger number of mid-week games and weather issues on several game nights.