Syracuse University's Carrier Dome will host a professional hockey game for the first time on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
The Frozen Dome Classic, conceived and organized by the owner of the AHL's Syracuse Crunch, Howard Dolgon, will feature a benefit game between the Syracuse and Utica, N.Y., fire departments, an NCAA Division III game between Oswego State and Utica College and the finale between the Crunch and the Utica Comets.
According to the AP, Dolgon's goal is to set an attendance record. The AHL indoor record is 20,672 and the U.S. professional indoor record is 28,183. Dolgon said enough tickets have been sold to surpass the former, and the Carrier Dome's 36,000-plus capacity is sufficient to break the latter.
"We want this to be something people will remember," said Dolgon, who proposed the Dome game a couple of years ago to Syracuse University. He said athletic director Daryl Gross and the entire department embraced the idea.
"Daryl likes to do big things," Dolgon said.
Last year, the Carrier Dome had a record crowd of 35,446 for February's men's basketball game between Syracuse and Duke.
The Dome, which opened in 1980, is home to Syracuse men's and women's basketball, football and men's lacrosse. The school's women's hockey team plays at the Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion on campus, while the Crunch plays at the War Memorial at Oncenter.
The NHL staged its last outdoor Winter Classic at a college venue, as 105,491 fans attended the game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan's Michigan Stadium.
The Crunch are currently tied for first place in the AHL's Northeast Division, while the Comets are in first place in the North Division.
- Ben Estes