Crunch to host Comets at Carrier Dome

The Syracuse Crunch announced on Wednesday that the American Hockey League team will host the first professional hockey game held in Syracuse University’s legendary Carrier Dome when they face the Utica Comets in the Frozen Dome Classic on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

“Four years ago the Syracuse Crunch staged the first outdoor game in American Hockey League history, attended by a record-setting crowd,” said Crunch owner Howard Dolgon. “On Nov. 22 we will once again make history by playing the first-ever professional hockey game in the iconic Carrier Dome, a facility that has hosted numerous major sporting and entertainment events. We greatly appreciate the partnership with Syracuse University and plan on doing everything we can to put on a first class show.”

The Frozen Dome Classic will add fuel to a growing rivalry between the Syracuse Crunch and neighboring Utica Comets. The Crunch will be competing in their 21st American Hockey League campaign and boast the league’s longest-tenured independent ownership group. The Comets’ inaugural season was 2013-14.

“The Comets are not only excited, but are honored to participate on such an iconic stage as the Carrier Dome,” said Comets president Rob Esche. “We look forward to furthering our rivalry with the Syracuse Crunch, and providing the Utica community another opportunity to make American Hockey League history.”

The unprecedented day-long hockey event will also feature an NCAA Division III matchup between the Utica College Pioneers and Oswego State Lakers, local collegiate powerhouses. There will also be a Syracuse vs. Utica law enforcement charity game prior to the Crunch-Comets main event.

“We are always looking for events to place in the Carrier Dome that capture the community spirit, and this is clearly one that we believe will,” Syracuse University director of athletics Dr. Daryl Gross said. “We have such a fantastic relationship with the Crunch and Howard Dolgon and are thrilled to host what is sure to be a spectacular day of ice hockey in one of the most unique settings in America.”

The ice rink will be set up similarly to the Carrier Dome’s basketball configuration. Using this layout, the renowned Carrier Dome can seat more than 30,000 fans. The Carrier Dome is well accustomed to hosting large crowds. Since 1983 the Dome has broken the NCAA’s men’s basketball on-campus attendance record 14 times, most recently when the Syracuse Orange hosted the Duke Blue Devils on Feb. 1, 2014, and 35,446 fans attended.

The largest crowd to watch an indoor professional hockey game in the United States is 28,183 when the Crunch’s NHL affiliate, the Tampa Bay Lightning, hosted the Philadelphia Flyers in a Stanley Cup Playoff game at the Thunderdome on Apr. 23, 1996. The American Hockey League indoor attendance record was set at the Greensboro Coliseum on Jan. 18, 1997, when 20,672 fans saw the Carolina Monarchs face the Kentucky Thoroughblades.

“The Frozen Dome Classic is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our community,” said Onondaga County executive Joanie Mahoney. “The Mirabito Outdoor Classic the Crunch hosted in 2010 was great and we look forward to another successful event in November.”

Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10:00 a.m. on June 24 and will range in price from $20 to $50. Discount ticket prices are available for groups of 15 or more people. Tickets can be purchased either in person at the Syracuse Crunch Office located at the War Memorial Arena on 800 South State Street in Syracuse, by calling (315) 473-4444 and at all Ticketmaster Outlets.

The Carrier Dome, a 49,262-seat stadium which opened in 1980, is the largest domed stadium in the northeastern United States and is the largest structure of its kind on any college campus in the country. Along with hosting Syracuse University basketball, football and lacrosse games, the “Loud House” has also held concerts featuring famous musical artists such as U2, Billy Joel, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.