2014 Winterfest will feature Walleye hockey at Fifth Third FieldWritten by Vincent D. Scebbi | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Take me out to the hockey game?
Fans typically flock to Fifth Third Field to watch the Toledo Mud Hens play baseball, but in late 2014 that will not be the case.
The Toledo Walleye announced Oct. 11 that hockey will move from inside the Huntington Center to Fifth Third Field as part of Winterfest 2014.
The outdoor game, scheduled for Dec. 27, 2014, will be part of a 10-day Downtown festival, beginning Dec. 26, which will showcase an outdoor ice rink assembled on the field.
“The Toledo Walleye are thrilled to host this unprecedented outdoor event,” said Joe Napoli, president and general manager of the Walleye and Mud Hens at a press conference Oct. 11. “Our fans have been clamoring for an outdoor hockey game and the Toledo Walleye Winterfest is the perfect way to showcase old-school hockey while also featuring other winter sports and events.”
ProMedica is sponsoring the festival.
Kevin Webb, president of ProMedica’s Toledo Hospital, said Winterfest will be working with venues such as the Toledo Museum of Art, Imagination Station, The Toledo Zoo and the Toledo Symphony for the 10-day festival.
“The community can expect this to be one of the best events that Downtown Toledo has seen in years,” Webb said at the press conference.
While specifics are still being planned, there will be other winter and family-oriented events throughout Winterfest. In addition to hockey, Winterfest will feature an outdoor open-skate at Fifth Third Field or the Huntington Center as well as activities such as broomball, curling, live music, ice sculpture demonstrations and fireworks.
“This event is all about our community and our region,” said Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica. “We are extremely proud to be able to present a week of family-oriented holiday activities that will showcase our city and its finest attributes as well as generating a significant positive economic impact for our community.”
The concept of an outdoor hockey game is not new, as the game started on frozen ponds and rivers.
The first NCAA outdoor hockey game was on Oct. 6, 2001, between the Michigan State Spartans and the University of Michigan Wolverines. “The Cold War” ended in a 3-3 tie.
Since 2008, the NHL has hosted its annual Winter Classic on or around New Years Day. The first Winter Classic was held in Orchard Park, N.Y., between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres.
The 2013 game, which is in jeopardy due to the current NHL lockout, is scheduled to be at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and will feature the Detroit Red Wings facing off against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For more information, visit toledowalleye.com/winterfest.