Syracuse, NY (November 24, 2009) – The Columbus Blue Jackets American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, along with Senator Charles E. Schumer and New York State announced November 24 that they will host the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, the American Hockey League's first-ever outdoor game, on February 20, 2010 at the New York State Fairgrounds against the Binghamton Senators. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.
"On behalf of our entire organization, we are excited about staging this tremendous event and are extremely appreciative to all those who have supported our efforts," said Crunch President and CEO Howard Dolgon.
"This first ever outdoor AHL Hockey game – which I hope will become an annual tradition – will bring the eyes of the sports world to Syracuse," said Senator Charles E. Schumer. "It has the potential to bring in serious tourism revenue for Syracuse and be a financial shot in the arms in difficult times. I look forward to seeing the puck being dropped and watching the Crunch and the Senators battle it out on our fairgrounds. This will be a boon to hockey fans from Syracuse to Binghamton and beyond!"
"Holding a first-time outdoor AHL game is a tremendous opportunity for Central New Yorkers, as this is a prime example of how best to capitalize on our regional strengths, such as our winter sports," said Empire State Development Chairman & CEO, designate, Dennis M. Mullen. "Not only this is an exciting event for families and sports fans alike to participate in, but this event creates an opportunity for Central New York’s tourism industry. With an influx of hockey fans coming in from across New York State, and possibly Pennsylvania and Canada, the local economy—namely area hotels and restaurants—will stand to gain an estimated $1 million. ESD is pleased it could play a part in helping make this event happen."
Mirabito Energy Products, the title sponsor of the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, is a New York-based company that has been providing energy needs for families and businesses throughout upstate New York since 1927. Mirabito Energy Products offers a variety of products including heating oil, propane, natural gas, coal, gasoline, diesel fuels, kerosene, and lubricants.
"Our family organization, Mirabito Energy Products, is thrilled to be a part of this first-time AHL event," said Joe Mirabito, CEO of Mirabito Energy Products, "We are even more thrilled that many of our friends and customers from Central New York will be able to enjoy the Mirabito Outdoor Classic here in Syracuse."
The Mirabito Outdoor Classic is being presented by Time Warner Cable, which will broadcast the game live on Time Warner Cable Sports, Toyota, Dunkin' Donuts, Labatt Blue, Renaissance Syracuse Hotel, Syracuse Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Coca-Cola and Wynit.
The Mirabito Outdoor Classic will make history as the first minor league outdoor hockey game ever played. Outdoor hockey games, which honor the heritage and roots of the sport being played by children on frozen lakes and ponds growing up, have been a proven success at the collegiate level as well as the National Hockey League level, with the NHL's Winter Classic now becoming a yearly event every New Year's Day.
The Mirabito Outdoor Classic will feature the hometown Syracuse Crunch (AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets), the AHL’s sixth-longest tenured franchise (16 years-tied) and longest-running independently owned team, against their Interstate-81 rivals, the Binghamton Senators (AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators).
In addition, the Mirabito Outdoor Classic will be a celebration of hockey in New York State and will recognize all levels of hockey from youth to recreation to professional players.
Notable NHL players from the Empire State include Dustin Brown (Ithaca), Ryan Callahan (Rochester), Eric Cole (Oswego), Tim Connolly (Syracuse), Craig Conroy (Potsdam), Brian Gionta (Rochester), Chris Higgins (Smithtown), Patrick Kane (Buffalo), Mike Komisarek (West Islip), Rob Schremp (Syracuse), Rob Scuderi (Syosset), Tom Sestito (Rome) and Lee Stempniak (West Seneca).
Notable Hall of Fame NHL players that have played for the three New York-based NHL teams include Mike Bossy (NY Islanders), Pat LaFontaine (Buffalo Sabres, NY Islanders and NY Rangers), Brian Leetch (NY Rangers), Mark Messier (NY Rangers), Gilbert Perreault (Buffalo Sabres) and Denis Potvin (NY Islanders).
Tickets for the Mirabito Outdoor Classic can be purchased starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 25 by calling the Crunch office at (315) 473- 4444, calling TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000 or by stopping by the Oncenter Box Office, located on the State Street Side of the War Memorial.