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Toledo Walleye | Richard Reed artist
An artist’s rendering shows how Fifth Third Field in Toledo might look for the Winterfest game Jan. 3, 2015.

K’s to play outdoors in 2015

To participate in 10-day Winterfest at Toledo stadium

– The Komets will participate in an outdoor game in Toledo on Jan. 3, 2015, as part of a 10-day Winterfest. The 5:30 p.m. game will be against the Walleye at Fifth Third Field, the baseball stadium of the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens.

The Walleye will play another ECHL game, against the Kalamazoo Wings, on Dec. 27. Before the Komets take on the Walleye, there will be a game between alumni of the Komets’ and Toledo’s various professional hockey franchises.

“There has been a lot of excitement around the league since we first announced this event last October,” ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna said. “With the Walleye hosting regional rivals Kalamazoo and Fort Wayne in the first outdoor games in ECHL history, we are expecting a tremendous response from fans and are looking forward to two great nights during the 2014-15 season.”

Only group tickets are on sale now – at 419-725-WALL – and single-game ticket sales will begin later. Preference will be given to Walleye and Mud Hens season-ticket holders.

Information is available at www.toledowalleye.com.

“This is a very exciting promotion for the Komet Hockey Club,” Komets general manager David Franke said.

In addition to the two ECHL games, there will be youth, high school and adult hockey at the outdoor rink, as well as community skates.

TinCaps President Mike Nutter said years ago he had informal conversations with the Komets about the possibility of having a game at Parkview Field.

“The question was: ‘Will it be cost prohibitive for all of us involved?’ ” Nutter said, adding that he hears often from local fans about the desire to have an outdoor hockey game and that he planned to speak with Mud Hens officials about how they and the Walleye are putting their Winterfest together.

“We’re under the impression it’s cost prohibitive for the two teams (the TinCaps and Komets) to do it here, but I will follow up with the Komets on this and see if that remains true. ... You can’t just throw a garden hose out there and make a rink. We have to protect our field and their great game. But it’s not going to make sense if it’s $100 a ticket.”

Komets President Michael Franke said he still believes an outdoor game would be difficult to pull off in Fort Wayne. In Toledo, he noted, the Walleye and Mud Hens have the same owners, the baseball stadium is bigger than Parkview Field and there is large backing from the city and local businesses to pull off a 10-day event.

“We looked into the dollars of it here several years ago,” Franke said. “At that time, it was in our impression, very cost prohibitive. That was before Parkview Field, though. It appears with the number of games being done now outdoors, it sounds like there are more refrigeration units. The price may have come down. But we haven’t looked into that recently.”

jcohn@jg.net

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