For the third consecutive year, the Syracuse Crunch will participate in the Shapiro Motor Classic, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 25 at the Campus Center Ice Arena.
The Syracuse Crunch, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, will face off against the Binghamton Senators, the AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators, for the second consecutive year. In its inaugural game, the Shapiro Motor Classic featured the Crunch and the Rochester Americans.
The Shapiro Motor Classic came to life when the Syracuse Crunch approached the university with the possibility of playing at the Campus Center Ice Arena for an exhibition game. Oswego State jumped at the opportunity to host the Crunch and therefore agreed to their request. Oswego State athletic director Tim Hale said that the university knew right away that it was a good idea.
In the inaugural year of the Shapiro Motor Classic, attendance was well below expectations, but last season attendance rose more toward the university’s expectations.
"Attendance has increased each year," Hale said. "The first year it was on a Sunday and it was 80 degrees outside. We lost many people to yard work. Last year it was on a Friday and attendance went up significantly."
This year, in an attempt to boost attendance even further, three different ticket prices are being introduced. Tickets for children 18 years old and younger, or a college student with valid I.D. can be purchased for $3. Individual tickets for adults who do not have Crunch season tickets can be purchased for $10. New for this year is the ticket price for adults who have Crunch season tickets; these tickets will cost $5.
"I think the community has been very supportive of the game and hopefully this support will continue to grow," Hale said. "We have added special pricing for season ticket holders this year and hope that will bring many of these people to the arena."
The Syracuse Crunch have shared a mutual feeling of satisfaction with the Shapiro Motor Classic. The ownership of the Crunch has been more than happy with the annual game as well as with their presence in Oswego. Hale says that as long as the Crunch show interest in continuing to play in Oswego and the AHL approves the arrangement, the Shapiro Motor Classic will continue to be an annual event.
"The competition has been great and I think it brings the next level of hockey to our fans," Hale said. "The Crunch ownership is very pleased, and Oswego is a market they want to include in their season ticket plans. This game gives them exposure to accomplish this."
Even if fans don’t know much about the Crunch or the Senators, it gives them a chance to see future NHL players.