Federal Hockey League’s Williamsport Outlaws to become first ice hockey team to play entire home schedule outdoors
Oct 14, 2012, 10:27 AM EDT
As the NHL lockout continues onward, those craving for hockey might want to take a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania as the Williamsport Outlaws of the Federal Hockey League are set to make their home debut on October 24th against the Dayton Devils.
The Outlaws will make special history this season as the first minor league hockey team to play the entire home schedule outdoors at Bowman Field which is also home to the Single-A minor league baseball team, the Williamsport Crosscutters.
Most know Williamsport as the home of the Little League World Series but if Outlaws team president and head coach Chris Firriolo gets his way, it might be the next hot ticket in town:
“There are certainly obstacles that we’ll face like weather conditions and maintenance of the facility,” Firriolo said. “But I think it will be a really impressive novelty.”
“It’s unorthodox. It’s never been done before,” said Williamsport mayor Gabriel Campana. “I think it’s something to be proud of, and there may be other cities that decide to do the same thing because it’s actually cheaper than building a multipurpose arena.”
In terms of total seats, Bowman Field will hold about 4,200 screaming hockey fans and to help with the project, the Outlaws enlisted the help of Rink Specialists who helped build outdoor ice rinks for the NHL’s “Winter Classic” games:
“We feel we found the right place on the infield to lay out the rink which will allow fans to get up close to the action,” says Firriolo. “The game is very fast and physical and it was a huge priority of ours to make sure our fans feel they are a part of the game. Rich Cubin and his crew at Rink Specialists did an outstanding job laying out the playing surface with our fans in mind.”
At this time, it is unknown how popular the idea of outdoor minor league ice hockey will be for the Outlaws but Firrolo sees the possibility of success with this plan:
“Nobody knows what will happen until a month into the season, but what happens if you strike gold and you sell 4,200 tickets a night?” Firriolo asked.
No lockout here: Ice Age stars in Williamsport [NBC Sports]
Hockey’s team cool idea to play outdoors [MSN Now]
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