Posted at: 03/21/2013 1:01 PM
Updated at: 03/21/2013 5:28 PM
By: Robin De Wind
How would you like to take your family to an outdoor hockey game at Frontier Field. The exciting plans were unveiled Thursday.
The Rochester Americans have teamed up with the Red Wings, RIT and Section V to bring the Rochester community a 10-day outdoor hockey festival, complete with an outdoor rink that will be set up at Frontier Field.
Outdoor hockey has become an annual event since the Sabres and Penguins played the first Winter Classic five years ago and it's the game that inspired the Sabres to want to bring this outdoor game to Rochester.
Frontier Field is beginning to show signs of Spring, but come next December, an outdoor hockey rank will stand there for 10 days. The Amerks, Sabres alumni, RIT Men's and Women's teams and high school teams will play there.
Matt Garbowsky, RIT Center, said, "Some of my fondest memories are skating outside so doing it competitively will be an exciting thing."
Sabres President Ted Black, backed by owner Terry Pegula, brought the idea of the Amerks hosting an AHL Classic at Frontier Field to Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason last summer. Mason saw the potential for a community event after attending the first NHL Winter Class five years ago in Orchard Park.
Dan Mason, Rochester Red Wings General Manager, said, "When I was at the Winter Classic, all I thought was how cool it would be to have a rink at Frontier Field."
Ted Black, Buffalo Sabres President, said, "If any franchise deserves to have a game like this, it's Rochester."
The event won't just be for watching games. There will be 80 to 90 time slots over the ten days for youth and adult leagues to play corporate, outings and holiday parties.
Jody Gage, Amerks Alumni, said, "Imagine the opportunity youth hockey, high schools, RIT playing it's going to bring back childhood memories or when your grandfather played."
The Amerks, under different ownership in 2009, looked at the cost of doing an outdoor game, but it was cost prohibitive. Black says the cost to lease the ice has come down and due to the Sabres-Amerks affiliation it makes the brand more likely to get a sponsorship.
Friday December 13: Amerks play
Saturday December 14: RIT Women vs. Clarkson
RIT Men vs. Niagara
Sunday December 15: Sabres Alumni vs. Amerks Alumni
Sunday December 22: 6 Section V hockey games
Red Wings and Amerks season ticket holders will have the first shot at tickets.
The event runs December 13 through December 22.
For more information on the event, click here.