A mere six days after the release of the American Hockey League schedule, we had the announcement of an outdoor game to be held in California.
It should come as any surprise that this contest will feature two teams from the newly formed Pacific Division, with the AHL and NHL both needing this venture to work and therefore promotion is a vital tool.
It’ll be the first time an AHL game will be played outdoors in western North America, and the eighth in league history since 2010.
Raley Field in West Sacramento California, will play host to Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames) and Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers), both newcomers to the league having previously been ECHL teams. Due to be held on Friday December 18, this will be a regular season match-up.
It’s not merely about the promotion of these teams in a brand new division, or about the AHL.
The game will be the highlight of the Golden State Hockey Rush, an event being hosted by Entercom Communications Sacramento, Raley Field and RS Ice Sports & Entertainment.
Titled the “Biggest Show on Snow,” this will be a six week event running from Nov. 20, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016.
A number of local amateur hockey teams will play on the ice for the first-ever Golden State Hockey Rush Holiday Tournament.
There will also be number of other attractions, including the “Monster Ice Slide,” public holiday skating, theme nights, Santa Claus picture opportunities, rides and more.
Clearly the aim is to engage the local public and encourage them to use the ice.
A locally based charity will benefit from the event in the shape of the Treat’em Like a King (TLK) Foundation, founded by former Sacramento Kings basketball player Harold Pressle.
Raley Field is the home of the Sacramento River Cats minor league baseball team in the Pacific Coast League. Hosting everything from local events to some big musical names, an ice hockey event for six weeks should test everyone’s capabilities as we’ve witnessed the issues trying to keep a rink in good condition when the weather is far from winter like.
Recent history tells us this is unlikely to be the only “classic game” the AHL puts on this season and hopefully that’s the case, with so many good candidates in the league for such events.