Week 9 of the 17/18 season is completed and already there looks to be a worrying trend developing with all of the Scottish Team's attendances.
As things stand, for two seasons in a row, The Clan, Capitals, Flyers and Stars have seen a drop in their average attendance figures. In fact, for the Stars it's the 4th season with a decline and for Fife, it's their third with a drop off in fan numbers while the Capitals have dropped 3 of the previous 4 seasons.
At this early stage in the season, the Challenge Cup games tend to affect the averages as they are generally less well attended due to some teams not including them in their season ticket deals. That said, it is only a couple of games each and the numbers have not really moved that much - so far anyway.
Looking at the other teams round the league, Cardiff, Belfast and Sheffield are all showing growth on last season while Coventry and Nottingham are both down.
With the league splitting into 3 conferences this season, some have the view that it has become similar to a division 1, 2 and 3 scenario. While some results will inevitably go against this (Fife beating Sheffield, anyone?), you can't help feeling that the big teams have got bigger this year and the gap between them and the rest is larger than ever before.
With this apparent change in competitiveness, I imagine the last thing the Scottish teams need is a drop in attendances and, therefore, a reduction in earnings to offset the increased player costs.
I won't pretend to have the solution to this issue, and there is always the possibility that things will improve over the remainder of the season but, for me, it seems we are all in this together and we should work together to try and improve the current situation for the short, medium and long term benefit of everyone.