Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Finger Lakes

Outdoor Hockey Coming to Frontier Field

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Rochester: Outdoor Hockey Coming to Frontier Field
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Frontier Field was built for baseball. The stadium has hosted other sporting events, but a series of events planned for next winter will mark a first.

"Two weeks from Saturday, we're opening up here at Frontier Field," said Tim Doohan, Rochester Red Wings.

Thursday was a spring day that felt more like winter.

"Hopefully the weather's a little warmer than this," said Doohan. "As a baseball fan, I hate it."

Which made the announcement at Frontier Field fitting.

"It really is an exciting announcement," said Maggie Brooks, (R), Monroe County Executive.

There are still signs of seasons past at the ballpark. Not baseball weather. Snow. Ice.

And talk of hockey at Frontier Field.

"I can assure you this will be something everyone in our town remembers," said Dan Mason, Rochester Red Wings general manager.

The park built for baseball will host hockey; ten days of hockey in December. High school games, RIT men's and women's games, and kicking it off, a Rochester Americans home game. Outdoors.

"If any AHL fan base deserves to have an event like this, it is Rochester's," said Ted Black, Amerks and Sabres president.

The concept of outdoor hockey is nothing new. The Buffalo Sabres hosted a home game at football's Ralph Wilson Stadium a few years ago.

"During that game, all I could think about was how cool would it be to have a rink at Frontier Field some day," Mason said.

That dream of a rink at the field will come true.

Those who are putting on the Winter Classic say there won't be a bad seat in the ballpark. The rink itself will be placed between the first and third base lines in the infield.

"I've never played in an atmosphere like this but looking at the stadium and what they have to offer, it's gonna be fun," said Ben Lynch, RIT.

Which brings us back to the weather. Rochester Decembers can be unpredictable.

"I think anything above 50 degrees and certainly rain," Black said.

That would be bad, though conditions for the outdoor rink don't have to be frozen for the ice to stay that way.

"Who comes to Frontier Field in December? And this gives a chance for everyone to come out," said Doohan.

That's the hope, when Baseball City USA turns into Hockeytown.

"It's gonna be something that Rochesterians are going to remember for a long, long time," Mason said. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP