It sounds like a blast: Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA; International League), is in the midst of the Frozen Frontier, with an ice rink featuring minor-league, college and high-school hockey.
We’ve seen several minor- and major-league teams utilize winter down time with ice-rink installations, and we’re always a little surprised more ballpark managers in winter climes don’t explore this option. Yes, it usually involves a decent investment — besides the cost of staging the rink, the Red Wings had earlier invested in winterization for the Frontier Field suite level — but if you can run two weeks of events, it can be worth the effort. In Rochester, the rink was put up by Rink Specialists, which has worked with other NFL and MLB venues on rink placement and maintenance.
For events, the Red Wings worked with the AHL’s Rochester Americans to schedule a high-profile game with the Lake Erie Monsters, as well as an assortment of other matches. From the Brighton-Pittsford Post:
Eventually, the teams decided on 2013 with the centerpiece being last Friday’s game between the Amerks and Lake Erie Monsters. The Frozen Frontier also featured hockey games including the Rochester Institute of Technology, Nazareth College, Buffalo Junior Sabres, and Sabres and Amerks alumni. The series wraps up with 10 Section 5 high school rivalry games on Saturday and Sunday.
“To make it more unique for our community we wanted to make it more of a festival of hockey, rather than a one-day, one-event, one-game event, which is predominantly what’s been the case in other markets with an NHL or AHL game and they take the rink down,” said Red Wings GM Dan Mason. “We figured we would need to have some other events here for this to make sense for us financially and from a uniqueness for the community standpoint.”
The event wraps up shortly with a slew of high-school games.
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.