The Syracuse Crunch is pushing to host an outdoor AHL game in 2017, with NBT Bank Stadium eyed as a potential venue.
It has been several years since Syracuse has hosted an outdoor game, but Crunch owner Howard Doglon wants to change that. The contest would take place NBT Bank Stadium, which is the home of Minor League Baseball’s Syracuse Chiefs.
Nothing has been finalized at this point, but Doglon he is considering placing the rink across the ballpark’s infield while adding portable stands to increase the 12,000-seat facility’s capacity by as much as 4,000 or 5,000 spectators.
The game could be played as early as December 2017, so Doglon is working with local officials to have an agreement wrapped up over the next few months. More from Syracuse.com:
“I don’t think there should be any issues, to be honest with you. It’s something we want to do,” Dolgon said. “I think there’s a great demand in this market for another outdoor game. I hear it all the time, ‘When are you going outdoors again?”’
Syracuse hosted the first outdoor contest in AHL history, Feb. 20, 2010, at the state fairgrounds. Since then, seven other AHL outdoor games have been played with another scheduled for Bakersfield in January.
Dolgon and Crunch COO Jim Sarosy have been talking with Onondaga County officials and Dolgon hopes to have the deal closed by the spring. The Syracuse Chiefs operate NBT Bank Stadium but the county, which owns the facility, has the right to book some events for the venue on its own.
Chiefs general manager Jason Smorol said he’s seen no details of the Crunch’s plan but in general he supports the idea. He said there’d be some details to take care of first, such as plowing the parking lot and making operational the parts of the park (i.e. plumbing) that have been shut down for winter.
Syracuse.com reported that the preferred opponent for the game is the Utica Comets, which would make the contest a matchup of regional rivals.