Where does Fill the Bowl rank in women's hockey attendance?

Wisconsin's women's hockey team poses with the Second Harvest donation information after Saturday's Fill the Bowl 2014. - Nicole Haase

The NCAA record crowds that attend Wisconsin's games are some of the biggest ever.

There doesn't appear to be a definitive list of the most attended women's hockey games ever, so it's not entirely easy to put Saturday's Fill the Bowl event at the Kohl Center in context, but we can try.

North Dakota, where hockey is essentially religion, co-opted the Fill the Bowl concept two weeks before Wisconsin's event. Like Wisconsin, NoDak hosted Minnesota and like UW, NoDak was hoping to break a record. The difference? North Dakota was hoping to break its own record for attendance at a women's event. And it did, drawing 5,835, "crushing" its own old record of 3,200 people to watch a women's hockey game. It set a record for the number of people watching women's hockey in the state of North Dakota.

The best I can tell, Wisconsin's 2014 Fill the Bowl made the top 11 of most attended women's hockey games ever. It was also the biggest crowd watching a hockey game anywhere in the world that day - including four men's opening round and two women's quarterfinal Olympic games in Sochi that day. (There were 11,678 at the USA-Russia game that took place early on Saturday morning,

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The list below is not entirely comprehensive, but it was compiled based on what I could gather were the best attended events. The largest Olympic crowds are on the list for reference.

18,013: 2013 IIHF Women's World Championship Canada-Finland Game

17,227: Dec. 20, 2013 Bring on the World Tour, USA-Canada in Toronto

16,805: 2010 Vancouver Gold Medal Game USA-Canada

16,496: 2010 Vancouver Opening Round Canada-Slovakia

16,398: 2010 Vancouver Bronze Medal Game Sweden-Finland

16,324: 2010 Vancouver Semi-Final Canada-Finland

16,021: 2010 Vancouver Semi-Final USA-Sweden

15,003: 2007 IIHF Women's World Championship (two games)

14,994: January 16, 1998 USA-Canada pre-Olympic game

13,776: 2013 IIHF Women's World Championship Gold Medal Game (USA-Canada)

13,573: 2014 Fill the Bowl

12,402: 2012 Fill the Bowl

11,174: 2013 IIHF Women's World Championship USA-Canada Opening Round Game

8,626: 1998 Nagano Olympics Gold Medal Game

8,599: 2002 Salt Lake City Gold Medal Game

8,399: 2006 Torino Canada-Italy Opening Round Game

6,664: 2006 Torino Gold Medal Game

Perhaps more telling: the number of fans in the Kohl Center on Saturday surpasses what passes through the gates for many other teams over the course of a season.

There are just five teams (Wisconsin included) that draw more fans in a year than UW drew to Fill the Bowl on Saturday.

This table (of the top 25 teams) comes from USCHO:

2012-13 Season Attendance

Rank Team Dates Total Attendance Average Attendance Capacity Cap. %
1 Minnesota 21 39,448 1,878 3,400 55.2
2 Wisconsin 18 32,590 1,811 2,400 75.4
3 Minnesota-Duluth 18 23,398 1,300 6,600 19.7
4 North Dakota 20 24,468 1,223 11,634 10.5
5 Cornell 18 17,665 981 4,267 23
6 Dartmouth 13 10,463 805 4,500 17.9
7 RIT 17 11,056 650 2,100 31
8 Mercyhurst 19 10,900 574 1,300 44.1
9 Harvard 15 7,913 528 2,776 19
10 Boston College 15 6,163 411 7,884 5.2
10 Northeastern 19 7,815 411 5,900 7
12 Boston University 19 7,306 385 3,684 10.4
13 New Hampshire 17 5,940 349 6,110 5.7
14 Vermont 18 6,265 348 4,035 8.6
15 Bemidji State 16 5,411 338 4,373 7.7
16 Ohio State 18 5,871 326 1,200 27.2
17 St. Lawrence 18 5,751 320 3,000 10.6
18 Yale 16 5,103 319 3,486 9.1
19 Clarkson 19 6,005 316 3,000 10.5
20 Quinnipiac 18 5,589 310 3,086 10.1
21 St. Cloud State 16 4,379 274 5,763 4.7
22 Minnesota State 16 4,313 270
23 Colgate 16 4,304 269 2,246 12
24 Holy Cross 12 3,186 266 1,400 19
25 Providence 17 4,226 249 3,030 8.2

College Hockey Stats.com has updated stats for this season and shows Saturday's attendance would have beat all but four team's home attendance for the season (Wisconsin being one of the four.)

As the Olympics play out, there is constant conversation about US and Canada domination, and whether the sport should continue to be supported by the IOC. Events like Fill the Bowl that expose more fans and possible future players to the game have nothing but positive effects on the future of women's hockey.

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