Upcoming Walleye season to feature ‘Frozen,’ WinterfestWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Themes for the upcoming Toledo Walleye hockey season include “Frozen,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “Batman.”
The season kicks off Oct. 18 and features events that families can enjoy, even if hockey isn’t among their favorite pastimes.
“We always try to keep it fresh … so even the season ticket holders are getting a little something different every game,” said Special Events Coordinator Emily Croll.
One of the most anticipated is the “Frozen” theme, which will be Nov. 8. Two characters from the movie will appear and there will be a “Princess Tea Party.” Croll said families have already taken interest in this theme.
“This has been, by far, one of our most popular events of the season,” Croll said. “This is something we just came up with, with the popularity of the movie and it just fits in with the hockey theme. It’s just a totally different fan base that we don’t usually host events for.”
Another theme is perfect for superhero fans and will celebrate the 75th anniversary of “Batman.” A themed jersey will be auctioned during the game with proceeds going to charity. Batman Night will be Nov. 22 and will also include a “Teddy Bear Toss” where fans will throw stuffed bears onto the ice after the Walleye score their first goal. All bears will be donated to charities.
Other themes include the popular “Star Wars” night Nov. 15 and a “Gilligan’s Island” theme March 28.
“Our ‘Star Wars’ night is always popular,” Croll said. “As old as the movies are, people still enjoy them. It’s kind of interesting that we find adults that love ‘Star Wars’ [and] kids that love ‘Star Wars.’”
Winterfest, a 10-day event planned for Dec. 26 to Jan. 4, has been two years in the making.
The program will include various events at the Huntington Center and an outdoor ice rink on Fifth Third Field. A series of hockey games and other recreational events will take place from 7:30 p.m. to midnight every night of the 10 days. On Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, Walleye games will take place as well.
Winterfest will include youth, college and adult games, community open skates and more. A New Year’s Eve party and a “Winter Brewfest” will also be offered.
“It’s not just for the Walleye games,” Croll said. “We have been working to get the community involved and we really wanted it to be a whole 10-day event.”
Croll said outdoor hockey games have become popular.
“The fact that we already have the baseball field here and that the Mud Hens and Walleye are so closely related, it was just a great fit for us to put on this event,” Croll said. “Just to be able to utilize two venues has given us the opportunity to host as many youth teams in 10 days as we do in a whole season.”
This is the first time the Walleye organization has done anything like this. Croll said the event is perfect for families.
The season will kick off at the annual FinFest Pregame Party in the Aquarium at the Huntington Center. The event is free for anyone attending the game and will include drink specials, face painters and free giveaways. Live music from The Bradberries will be featured and head coach Derek Lalonde will address the crowd.
The party will be from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 18. The Walleye will play the Cincinnati Cyclones directly after the party.