UMaine to be compensated for giving up home game to play at Fenway

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 26, 2011, at 8:36 p.m.

It is certainly going to be a memorable event when the University of Maine men’s hockey team takes on archrival New Hampshire on Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Fenway Park in Boston. It will follow a 4 p.m. game between the men’s teams from the University of Vermont and the University of Massachusetts.

The games were officially announced by Hockey East at a Friday press conference in Boston.

This will be the second Frozen Fenway event. The Boston College-Boston University men’s game drew sellout of 38,472 for the first Frozen Fenway in 2010 after 6,889 attended a women’s game between Northeastern and New Hampshire earlier that afternoon.

But is it worth the lost revenue since a Maine-New Hampshire game at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena brings in approximately $105,000?

Maine athletic director Steve Abbott said institutions are “compensated” for giving up their home games. UMass is also giving up a home game.

“They (Hockey East) haven’t done the numbers yet, so we don’t know what we will receive,” said Abbott. “I don’t expect to get dollar-for-dollar for what we would have had for a home game, but I expect we’ll get a large percentage of it.

“Part of the financial sacrifice we make is offset by the fact it is an extremely high-profile game for our program,” said Abbott. “This is a great opportunity for our players and our fans to participate in this event during the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. Being an outdoor game will make it a real thrill. We have a great fan base in Boston. There are a lot of Maine alums.”

The game is a rescheduled home game for Maine and was part of a season-ending two-game set on March 2-3. This replaces the March 2 (Friday night) game.

The last six games between Maine and New Hampshire in Orono attracted an average of 5,245 and based on an estimate of tickets rounding out to $20 apiece, that works out to $104,900 per game.

Maine coach Tim Whitehead concurred with Abbott on the decision of Maine playing in Fenway.

“The positives far outweigh the negatives. It was a slam-dunk (decision),” said Whitehead. “This is a signature event and we’re thankful for the opportunity. This is great for college hockey.”

He added that he was grateful that Hockey East and the Fenway Sports Management group chose teams from outside the metropolitan Boston area this time around.

He also said that the media exposure will be extremely beneficial.

The first Frozen Fenway was televised by the New England Sports Network.

The four teams will try to squeeze in a practice on Jan. 6 and Whitehead indicated that they are exploring the possibility of having a Maine-New Hampshire alumni game on the previous Thursday or Friday evening.

The ice surface will be available for other events like public skating and private functions.

In a press release, Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna said, “Few experiences in my four decades in college hockey were as special as the first ‘Frozen Fenway’ in 2010. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our four schools the first time around and I expect the same in 2012. Given that we will help launch Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary, we are doubly grateful for this opportunity.”

This will be the 111th career game between the two rivals. Maine holds a 56-48-5 record against the Wildcats and the two teams will play in Durham, N.H., on Nov. 5.

The University of Maine’s allotment of Frozen Fenway II tickets will be available to Maine hockey season ticket holders exclusively on Monday starting at 8:30 a.m. On Tuesday, season ticket holders, UMaine students, alums and Black Bear Club members may purchase tickets.

UMaine’s season ticket cost for 2011-12 was discounted to allow for the possibility of the game in Fenway, thus not charging season-ticket holders twice for the Maine-UNH game.

To purchase tickets for the Fenway game, fans can call the University of Maine ticket office at 207-581-BEAR (2327) or 1-800-756-TEAM (8326). Ticket prices range from $5 (limited view) to $75. A processing charge of $6 will accompany all transactions. The $75 tickets provide outdoor seating with access to interior areas.

The Royal Sonesta Hotel will be Hockey East’s official hotel for Frozen Fenway 2012 for parents and fans. The hotel is offering a discounted $129 rate for standard rooms and $149 for deluxe riverview rooms. Fans can make their reservations by visiting www.hockeyeastonline.com or by calling 617-806-4200 or 1-800-766-3782.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/26/sports/umaine-to-be-compensated-for-giving-up-home-game-to-play-at-fenway/ printed on November 24, 2014