College hockey is coming to Winterfest 2014. The Toledo Walleye are pleased to welcome Bowling Green State University and Robert Morris University to Winterfest 2014 for an outdoor hockey game on Saturday, January 3, 2015.
The Falcons and Colonials game at noon kicks- off an action-packed day of hockey; the Toledo and Fort Wayne alumni hockey teams follow immediately afterward and the day concludes with the Walleye and the Komets playing the second ECHL outdoor hockey game at 5:30 p.m. The first-ever outdoor ECHL game on Saturday, December 27, 2014 pits the Walleye against Kalamazoo Wings.
"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to participate in Winterfest, an event that will mean much to Northwest Ohio," Bowling Green 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. I want to thank the Toledo Walleye front office for their work in making this a reality.
"When we first talked about an outdoor hockey game, we wanted to include a college game in the lineup," Joe Napoli, President and General Manager of the Toledo Walleye and Toledo Mud Hens, said. "BGSU has a rich hockey tradition in this region. We're excited to have BG and Robert Morris and all their fans take part in this historic event."
Fifth Third Field, the home of the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, will be converted from a baseball field into an outdoor hockey rink. The full-size 200'x 85' rink will stretch across the infield with the two goals near first and third base.
The college hockey game and the two ECHL outdoor hockey games are part of Winterfest 2014, a 10-day community-wide outdoor celebration presented by ProMedica. There will also be youth, high school and adult hockey at the outdoor rink. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a Rockefeller Center-like experience during community skates.
Bowling Green defeated Robert Morris 3-2 earlier this year during the Three Rivers Classic at Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center. Both squads are among the top half of their league with the Falcons currently sitting in third in the WCHA with records of 13-12-5 overall and 10-9-3 in the conference. Robert Morris is 10-13-3 overall and 10-6-3 in Atlantic Hockey.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be invited to participate in a great outdoor hockey event as part of Winterfest," Robert Morris Athletics Director Craig Coleman, M.D., said. "I know that our players and coaching staff are extremely excited to take on a great opponent in a great venue."
The first "modern-era" collegiate hockey game was played on Oct. 6, 2001 when Michigan State and Michigan played in Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. By the end of the 2013-14 season, there will have been 26 NCAA Division I men's hockey games played outdoors, but this will be the first for either Bowling Green or Robert Morris and just the second to ever be played in the state of Ohio.