Sheffield Steelers fans are turning up in numbers to usher in the new season.
Last Sunday’s Arena crowd of 5,182 for a relatively-modest Challenge Cup group game was more than nine matches in Football League divisions One and Two.
The Champions Hockey League fixture against HV71 recently attracted 4,471.
And now Steelers coach Paul Thompson hopes for another sizeable turnout for Sunday’s game against Red Bull Salzburg.
“The crowds just keep getting bigger and louder” he said. “It normally takes a month or more for people to realise we are back it but this year it’s been great from game one. The crowds against HV71 and Manchester were bigger than we expected. And louder.
“The fans like this team, it’s work ethic and speed.
“Sunday will be an incredible opportunity to see one of Europe’s big clubs on our ice. We will be going full out against Salzburg.
“This is as good as it gets. £3m buys you a great team - we can’t compete with that but we can with our commitment.
“I’m sure we will have another big crowd and would urge fans to watch us play against this quality of opposition.”