Toledo Walleye hockey games offer many promotionsWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
A 13-foot-custom-made blimp of Spike, mascot for the Toledo Walleye hockey team, will be one of the newest additions to the crowd at the Huntington Center during its second official season.
Home play begins 7 p.m. Oct. 16 versus the Wheeling Nailers, but the blimp won’t arrive until the end of October, said JaMay Edwards, manager of promotions for the Toledo Walleye and Mud Hens.
Edwards said there will be plenty of special events to draw people to the games this season.
“Every year, we do improve and people are always going to get something new and exciting,” Edwards said.
In its 2009-2010 season, attendance at Walleye games was more than 8,000 five times, including opening day and the day after Christmas, Edwards said.
She attributed the success to the new arena and to the return of both former Storm head coach Nick Vitucci and announcer Bobb Vergiels.
“People are glad to have the hockey back,” Edwards said. “We want Walleye Hockey to be what the Mud Hens is.”
Promotions throughout the season include numerous postgame parties and open skates with the team.
“Players are very, very accessible,” Edwards said. “They love the fans.”
The Hanson brothers from the 1977 hockey movie “Slap Shot” will make an appearance at the Dec. 4 game.
Sundays are Kids Days and will feature mascots and costumed characters like SpongeBob SquarePants on Dec. 5, Iron Man on Jan. 30, Spiderman and X-Mens’ Wolverine on Feb. 13 and the Backyardigans on Feb. 27.
According to Edwards, there will be up to nine mascots at the games at a time, including spotlight appearances by Muddy and Maddonna of the Mud Hens.
The first Kids Day coincides with the Teddy Bear Toss on Nov. 14, where fans toss new teddy bears onto the ice for donation to Lucas County Children’s services.
Other promotions include Halloween Hockey Night on Oct. 30, Ugly Holiday Sweater Night on Dec. 29, a new parachute drop contest, Zamboni rides for kids and Fish Sticks equipment auctions.
Signature jerseys will be auctioned off postgame for several of the Walleye’s promotion events. Military Appreciation Night on Jan. 22 features camouflage Walleye jerseys and on March 4, used pink jerseys will be auctioned for the Walleye’s Pink in the Rink fundraiser.
The Walleye promotions team is working to make the Huntington Center a destination before and after games, especially in the winter.
“We really want people to eat at the arena before the game,” Edwards said, explaining that pocket-sized menus will be offered throughout the season.
The Stanley Cup, on loan from the Chicago Blackhawks, will be at the Huntington Center for a postgame party with the Walleye players Jan. 7.
One of the most popular events from last season was Hockey History Night, when former players from the Goldiggers and the Blades attended the game. History night is Feb. 19.
For a complete list of Walleye hockey promotions, visit www.toledowalleye.com/promotions.