Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Much More than a Hockey Game

Syracuse Crunch fans are lining up to scoop up tickets that are now on sale for the 1:00p.m. February 20th Outdoor Hockey Game at the NYS Fairgrounds. Priced at 30 and 40 dollars, you can purchase them through ticketmaster or the Crunch Box office. I've heard nothing but excitement within the hockey circles I travel in, regarding the history making game for the AHL that will honor the roots and heritage of our favorite sport. Not surprising, since it's been tried twice by the NHL to huge success. At yesterday's press conference Syracuse Crunch Player Chris Higgins said, "You grow up playing pond hockey with all your friends so I think it will have a little bit of a pond hockey feeling to it. At the same time we know that it's a game, it should be a great game and hopefully we can come out with a victory."
It's already a victory for our community. The Empire State Development Corporation expects the game of uncontrolled outdoor ice to bring $1 million into our area and attract about 20,000 fans from across New York State and Northeastern Canada. The Crunch is calling the event a celebration of hockey that will recognize all levels, from youth to recreation to professional players. You can count on the wide-eyed youngest level players to be in the stands that day. Coaches of youth hockey teams are already doing head counts for tickets and rearranging game schedules for kids to turn out in a big way for the Outdoor Classic. The Crunch is also working out plans for youth hockey players to take part in events leading up to the big game. We should soon be hearing details about all of that soon.
It'll be a real team effort to make all of this happen. Pretty amazing when you think about what it's going to take to pull this off. No scoreboard, so they'll rent two video pop-up screens to display the score and penalty times. They'll need gravel, portable locker rooms, heaters and of course ice! They figure it'll take about two weeks to get the transformation job done.
Let the Crunch outdoor countdown begin! A cinder race track that sits quiet in the dead of winter will soon be turned into an ice arena and hockey fans can't wait to make some noise. Crunch owner Howard Dolgon says the country and maybe now all of North America is going to be looking at Syracuse on February 20th and that's going to be something special. We agree Howard, something special in commemoration of old time pond hockey. It certainly will be something special to a generation of young, indoor arena players who are guaranteed to witness so much more than a hockey game.

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