As most have heard on February 20th the Syracuse Crunch will hold the first ever outdoor game at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse NY against the Binghamton Senators. Crunch owner Howard Dolgan has invested over $500,000 to put this on and has seen great response from local businesses in terms of sponsorships. Some of the main sponsors are Mirabito Energy Products, Time Warner Cable, Toyota, Labatte Blue, Dunkin Donuts, Coca Cola, Renaissance Syracuse Hotel, and Wynit along with other smaller companies.
The total cost of the event is in the area of $750,000 to $900,000 but New York State is letting the Crunch use the fairgrounds for free. If not for that this the game most likely would not happen. Tickets are going for $40 and $30 a piece with estimates being around 25,000 seats available.
Season ticket holders have free admission by having tickets already but had to reserve their seats and also had the option for 20 more extra tickets. My group purchased an additional 18 seats and some of my friends who are season ticket holders have also purchased any where from 2 to 20 extra seats. The last I heard sales were close to 10,000 seats sold but not sure if that includes the season ticket holders or not. If so there will be limited number of tickets left.
Binghamton fans have also been buying them up as they are only 90 minutes down the highway from Syracuse. I have sat with many fans from the Senators and could not be happier that they are the opponent. The two teams have played 6 games so far this season and have split those so far. This should make for a competitive game and with the rivalry growing game by game should feature great fights, hitting, along with hopefully a close game.
In addition to the game the Crunch will be bringing in past and present hockey players with roots from New York. A quick list I could come up with is as follows:
Dustin Brown (Ithaca), Ryan Callahan (Rochester), Eric Cole (Oswego), Tim Connolly (Syracuse), Craig Conroy (Potsdam), Brian Gionta (Rochester), Chris Higgins (Smithtown), Patrick Kane (Buffalo), Mike Komisarek (West Islip), Rob Schremp (Syracuse), Rob Scuderi (Syosset), Tom Sestito (Rome) , Tim Sestito (Rome),Lee Stempniak (West Seneca), and Zack Bogosian (Massena). Also could include hall of famers from the Rangers, Islanders, and Sabres.
This game will not be a money maker for the Crunch as they will be lucky to break even but there has been talk of not only being on TV locally (Time Warner Sports) But ESPN, VS, and even the NHL Network has been rumored. Nothing but Time Warner right now is a definite but look for a major network to take the chance.
The one downfall for this game is the date. For someone not familiar with Central New York weather we live due east of Lake Ontario and it is a major influence on the local weather. Lake effect snow is something most do not know about but when cold air passes over the warm waters produces one of the most intense winter weather conditions on the planet. Syracuse averages over 120 inches of snow per season but just 25 minutes north can get over 400 inches of snow. Redfield NY is the snowiest place in the United States east of the Rockies and is less than a hour drive from Syracuse. Syracuse has had almost 200 inches of snow some years so this could make for an interesting event.
Sunday the 21st of February is a make up date if the weather will not allow the game to be played. Fingers are being crossed and this week the Texas company that will be installing the rink are in town to evaluate the site and level it off. The actual rink will be brought here as well to be stored until 10 days before the event. The Grandstand does have a roof but there will be additional seating that will be exposed to the elements if there is snow or freezing rain. One good thing is the average temperature for that time of year is around 30 Degrees Fahrenheit as the temperature can drop to -10 or -20 Degrees Fahrenheit.
If anyone is interested don't wait get your tickets now as this should be a blast one way or the other and if you like snow just come to see the scenery in upstate NY in the middle of the winter. The number to contact the Crunch for tickets is (315) 473-4444.