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What To Make Of The 2012 Beanpot's Weak Attendance?

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BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 20:  The outside of the TD Garden before the Boston Bruins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 20: The outside of the TD Garden before the Boston Bruins take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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USCHO.com noted that the first round of this year's Beanpot wasn't a sold out for the first time in over 30 years.

"I'm not talking about the sea of empty orange-yellow seats during the third period of BC's late-game thrashing of Northeastern. That must have looked atrocious on TV but can be explained away as a mere product of a blowout.

No, I'm talking about empty, unsold seats. Attendance for Monday night's contest was 16,005, well short of the 17,565 capacity. This marked the first Beanpot game since the Blizzard of 1978 that wasn't sold out."

There are always going to be empty orange-yellow seats during the first round of the Beanpot as fans often times only attend one of the two sessions based on the team they came to see. But I do think the fact that the Beanpot didn't sell out this year is troublesome.

(For the record, it looks like there is a difference of opinion about whether the first round of the Beanpot was sold out or not.)

It obviously doesn't help when you don't have a BC-BU first round matchup. The fact that Northeastern is having a bad season -- the Huskies are clinging to the eighth and final HEA playoff spot, two points ahead of UMass with one less game to play -- also doesn't help. But Harvard is playing relatively well this season (currently tied for third in a weak ECAC) and BC and BU are both top five outfits nationally. So ... what gives?

I have no doubt that the Garden will be sold out this Monday for a BC-BU final, but I'm wondering if this trend of declining attendance will continue in years where BC and BU don't meet up in the first round. Should the tournament consider moving the opening round back to campus, with each school hosting on a rotational basis? This would limit the number of seats available but make a ticket to the first round a hot commodity.

Or will we see the Beanpot follow the lead of the Great Lakes Invitational, which is moving outdoors to Detroit's Comerica Park next season?

Thoughts on the first round of the Beanpot not selling out for the first time in over 30 years? Should the first round of the tournament stay at the Garden, or should it be played elsewhere?