BGSU hockey to play outdoor game at Fifth Third Field in Toledo
Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor
Monday, 03 February 2014 15:36
The Falcon hockey team will be playing an outdoor game next season.
|An artist’s rendering of how Fifth Third Field will look for the outdoor hockey game. (Illustration courtesy of the Bowling Green State University athletics department and the Toledo Walleye.)
Bowling Green will face Robert Morris at Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo.
The teams will play Saturday, Jan. 3 at noon.
Fifth Third Field is the home of the Toledo Mud Hens, the Class AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers.
The schools announced the game Monday afternoon in conjunction with the East Coast Hockey League’s Toledo Walleye.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” BG junior Ryan Carpenter said. “It’s every kid’s dream. You watch all of the outdoor games in the NHL and college, and it makes you dream of getting the opportunity to play in one. We’re excited about it and we’re looking for to it.”
Although Carpenter is a Florida native who hasn’t played in an outdoor game yet, he did skate outdoors on ponds several times during trips to Canada during his youth/minor hockey career.
Carpenter first learned of the outdoor game Jan. 26.
“Your heart just starts beating right away when you think about it,” Carpenter said. “You just start to picture in your mind what it’ll be like to play outside and how special it will be.
“The outdoor games bring you back to the roots of hockey, and the joy and the excitement it brings you. It’ll be just like being a little kid again when you’re skating out there for the first time. It brings back that little kid, that side of you. You see how much fun the guys in the NHL outdoor games are having and what a blast it is getting to play in front all of those fans. That’s something we’re looking forward to.”
The BG-RMU game is part of the Walleye’s Winterfest.
The Walleye are holding a 10-day winter celebration at the Huntington Center and Fifth Third Field Dec. 26 through Jan. 4.
“We are very excited to be a part of Winterfest,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “We have not had a chance to participate in an outdoor event, so for us to be able to be a part of this, and to remain close to home by playing in Toledo, is a great opportunity.”
Fifth Third Field will be converted from a baseball field into an outdoor hockey rink.
The full-size 200-by-85-foot rink will stretch across the infield with the goals near first and third base.
The stadium has a capacity of 10,300 for baseball.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to participate in Winterfest, an event that will mean much to Northwest Ohio,” BG athletics director Chris Kingston said. “For most of our student-athletes and coaches, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play collegiate hockey in an outdoor environment.”
“When we first talked about an outdoor hockey game, we wanted to include a college game in the lineup,” said Joe Napoli, president and general manager of the Walleye and Mud Hens.
The Walleye will play two games at the rink, including a 5:30 p.m. game Jan. 3 after the BG-RMU contest.
Winterfest also will include youth, high school and adult hockey games at the rink. The Walleye said kids and adults “will enjoy a Rockefeller Center-like experience during community skates.”
BG High School coach Dan DeWitt said his team has been contacted about the possibility of playing a game at Winterfest, but nothing has been agreed to.
Perrysburg coach Kevin Quinn said his team started hasn’t working on its schedule for next season.
BG Youth Hockey Association president Mike Furnas said his organization has been contacted about its teams playing at the event, but nothing has been finalized.
The Falcons were 3-2 winners Dec. 28 over RMU earlier this season in the consolation game of the Three Rivers Classic at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
RMU is in Pittsburgh.
“We are very excited to play in this special event,” RMU coach Derek Schooley said. “This will be a game that will take our student-athletes back to their childhood days and a game they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
There will have been 26 NCAA Division I men’s hockey games played outdoors by the end of this season.
The first was played Oct. 6, 2001 when Michigan and Michigan State played at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
This will be the first outdoor game for BG and RMU.
Ticket details for the BG-RMU game are being finalized.
Fans can call the Walleye ticket office at (419) 725-9255 to be put on a list to receive ticket information updates.
The outdoor game is part of a home-and-home series for BG and RMU, who then will play the next day at RMU.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 10:24