CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — In just a few months, the Charlotte Checkers will face off against the Rochester Americans at Truist Field. It will be the first minor league hockey game played outdoors in the southeast.
Despite the tepid temperatures on the horizon, over at the ballpark, they just started making ice.
“They’ve started the process of freezing it and, you know, overnight it’ll be cold, but that’s the easiest way to do it, is putting sprinklers on and just let it go,” said Charlotte Knights executive Dan Rajkowski.
The ice rink will host the Charlotte Checkers when they play to an eager crowd on Jan. 13.
Before that, however, it’ll be available to the community during the Light the Knights Christmas celebration.
“I think it’s an opportunity to keep the lights on year-round,” Rajkowski said. “We started this during COVID when things were not going well. We weren’t playing baseball, and we looked at how we are going to become creative out here.”
Last year, the Knights drew more than 160,000 people to Truist Field in the off-season. This year with the hockey game, they’re expecting even more.
“Well, we put the tickets on sale. Great response!” Rajkowski said. “We sold out the fixed seats in the first day, 3,700 in the first hour, actually. We’ve got standing-room only. We’ve got a couple small party areas that we have left that we’re working on selling.”
It’s been a huge undertaking. The rink sits on a massive sand box with coils underneath that’ll help freeze the ice, multiple tube slide lanes and concessions in the outfield.
“Partnering with the Checkers has been a real pleasure,” Rajkowski said. “We’ve wanted to do this for a number of years.”
Light the Knights kicks off Nov. 22 and is open Thursday through Sunday with a few other events sprinkled in between.
Before the pros take the ice, the Charlotte 49ers club hockey team will host Appalachian State at Truist Field Nov. 17.