The University of Connecticut men’s and women’s ice hockey teams will play an outdoor doubleheader at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011 as part of the10-day “Whalers Hockey Fest,” an effort by a former Hartford Whalers executive to re-establish the Whalers’ legacy in Connecticut.
The Huskies men’s team will take on Sacred Heart in an Atlantic Hockey contest, followed by the women’s team facing Providence in a Hockey East game. Game times will be announced at a later date.
The 10-day Whalers Hockey Fest could include as many as 20 outdoor games between professional, college, prep school, and high school teams at Rentschler Field, and is modeled after the National Hockey League’s “Winter Classic” at Fenway Park. NHL teams have drawn large crowds in recent years to outdoor games that recall hockey players learning to play on frozen ponds and lakes as youngsters. The event is being organized by Howard Baldwin, the founder and former managing general partner of the National Hockey League’s Hartford Whalers.
“The University of Connecticut is excited to participate in this celebration of hockey in Hartford,” says Jeff Hathaway, UConn’s director of athletics. “It will be a memorable experience for our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. Given the close proximity of the participating teams, we hope that UConn supporters as well as hockey fans throughout the region will make plans to join us for this unique event.”
Rentschler Field is the 40,000-seat home of the UConn football team. It is owned by the State of Connecticut and managed by Bushnell Management Services.
“It is very fitting that we are involved with the Whalers Hockey Fest,” says Husky head coach Bruce Marshall. “We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of our program, and many of the early games of our team were played outdoors. In addition, Todd Krygier, one of our program’s most prominent alumni, played for the Whalers for two seasons. We are hoping that the success and exposure that Rentschler Field has provided for our football team will do the same that night for our men’s hockey team.”
Adds women’s head coach Heather Linstad: “This is an exciting opportunity to showcase UConn women’s ice hockey, and the sport in general, in a fun and festive atmosphere. It will be exciting for our student-athletes to say they played a game outdoors at Rentschler Field.”
Festival tickets for the entire event can be purchased online. Information on individual game tickets will be forthcoming.