It will be the first outdoor hockey games for the league and is part of Toledo’s Winterfest 2014.
The first game was Saturday night against the Kalamazoo Wings and the Walleye will play another outdoor contest against the Fort Wayne Komets on Jan. 3, 2015.
In between, there will be open skates for the community, youth hockey games and a game involving Bowling Green State University.
Toledo Walleye president Joe Napoli said that even though the National Hockey League has been playing its Winter Classic outside since 2008 and college teams and minor leagues have gone outdoors, the event will still be unique for the city and the area.
``We've seen that phenomenon happen across the country. It might seem, if you're on the outside looking in, that there are a lot of these types of events, but it's what's important to the local and regional community,'' he told The Blade (http://bit.ly/13rTV4J).
The Walleye, an affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, and Toledo-based hospital chain ProMedica are paying for the event, putting up about $750,000.
``Major sporting events like outdoor games, All-Star games, and home run derbies, because your community typically doesn't host events of that magnitude very often, they are fresh for your community,'' Napoli said.
The players are excited.
``Just being able to watch it be built and to see all the promotions that are going up, it's going to be a special experience,'' Walleye forward Tyler Barnes said.
ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said he thinks outdoors hockey games still create a buzz.
``I could change my opinion in the future,'' he said. ``But we have so many mid-sized markets who have an interest in this, who have the qualities and the support to do something like this.
``If it's every year or if there are multiple events, it could tire. But we're nowhere near the point of saturation.''
Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/
YOUNG STARS TO SKATE AT WINTERFEST
Adrian vs. U.S. National Under-18 on December 31
TOLEDO: Top young American hockey players will take to the ice when Adrian College faces the U.S. National Under-18 Team, on December 31, 2014 at 4 p.m. during Toledo Walleye Winterfest.
The U-18 team currently has a record of 21-6-1, and is led in scoring by forwards Auston Matthews and Jeremy Bracco. Both have been named to the preliminary U.S. National Junior Team roster for the upcoming 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Bracco recently became the NTDP's all-time assists leader, passing
Also on the U.S. National U-18 Team are forwards Jordan Greenway and Colin White, both are A-rated prospects by NHL Central Scouting for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, and are considered to be possible first round selections.
Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and R.J. Umberger are among the current NHL stars who have graduated from the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Adrian College currently has a record of 10-2, with an 8-0 record in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. The Bulldogs are led in scoring by Kyle Brothers, a freshman forward from Watford, Ontario.
Gates open at 3 p.m. All tickets are general admission and cost $10. Call 419-725-9255 or go to www.toledowalleye.com/winterfesttickets.
Adrian College Hockey link:
U.S. National Under-18 Team link: