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Toledo Walleye Winterfest

Toledo Walleye take on Kalamazoo in the opening Winterfest ECHL game

■ Full Toledo Walleye Winterfest schedule

■ Game and event ticket information


Toledo Walleye Winterfest coverage

Winterfest gets a warm farewell, Jan. 5

Melissa Digby came downtown on the final day of Winterfest on Sunday prepared for wind and rain and snow.

Instead, it was a not-too-chilly 38 degrees and a bit cloudy, but not all that uncomfortable for watching her son play hockey with the Sylvania North Stars at Fifth Third Field. 

“I like it today because the weather is awesome, but I’m not sure how the ice is,” the Ottawa Lake woman said. 

Mike, her husband, then added: “It’s slow. The ice is very slow.” 

Still, for the estimated 45,000 to 50,000 people who came out during the last 10 days to ice skate on the outdoor rink, try some new beers at the Walleye Winter Brewfest, or to watch youth, high school, college, and Walleye hockey, Toledo’s first-ever Winterfest seemed like just the change of pace they needed. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Last day of Winterfest


Walleye KometsSPORTS: Walleye lose outdoor contest to Fort Wayne in shootout, Jan. 5

Winterfest took on a true wintery feel for the finale of the 10-day long event on Sunday but the Walleye's late rally fell just short under snowy, and then windy conditions.

A steady snowfall blanketed the downtown baseball stadium at Fifth Third Field where an outdoor rink served as the centerpiece of the organization's long planned celebration. 

Toledo forward Anthony Luciani scored two goals during regulation, including the tying goal with 2:56 left in the third period. 

After a scoreless overtime, Fort Wayne had two skaters score in the shootout and only A.J. Jenks scored for the Walleye as the Komets skated away with a 3-2 win.


TOLEDO MAGAZINE: Walleye Winterfest 2014 heats up in downtown Toledo, Jan. 4

If Toledoans recall 2014 as being ushered in by a winter of discontent — frigid temperatures, record snowfall — they marked the year’s departure in a more festive fashion. The sun shone more often, snowfall was negligible, and while the temperatures have certainly been nippy since the end of November, there’s been no pesky polar vortex to drive people indoors.

Not yet, anyway.

Mother Nature has decided to play nice for a while, and everyone from sports teams to cultural institutions has taken advantage of the lull with Winterfest 2014, a 10-day convergence of events designed to show that the right amount of ice can be rather nice.

PHOTO GALLERY: Winterfest warms up Toledo


COMMENTARY: A rainy day doesn’t dampen success of Walleye Winterfest, Jan. 4

It was a safe bet that Winterfest would be the best-ever of its kind, mainly because we had nothing with which to compare it.

Oh, the big cities with the big venues had done this kind of thing before, so there was a template.

Toledo would be making its own, unique history.

It wasn’t just an outdoor hockey game; ours was a 10-day extravaganza.


SPORTS: Walleye Winterfest game postponed, Jan. 4

A constant rain and frigid conditions postponed a much anticipated outdoor Walleye game on Saturday night.

Officials cited concern with player safety in deciding to move the team's Winterfest game that was scheduled to be played against Fort Wayne to 5 p.m. today.

The tickets from Saturday’s game will be honored today.


BGSU vs Robert MorrisSPORTS: Frozen, wet Falcons tie Robert Morris, Jan. 4

Skating through a steady rain in bone-chilling conditions, the Bowling Green hockey team fought through the unfavorable weather to earn a point in the school's first outdoor game on Saturday.

In a showdown of two nationally ranked college programs, the Falcons carried a 2-0 lead into the third period but Robert Morris tallied two unanswered goals and the teams skated to a 2-2 tie at Fifth Third Field.

No. 13 Bowling Green (11-3-3) and No. 19 Robert Morris (12-3-4) had trouble withstanding a consistent rain as the temperature hovered around freezing.

PHOTO GALLERY: BGSU vs. Robert Morris


FESTIVITIES: Inaugural Toledo Walleye Winter Brewfest is a hit, Jan. 3

Toledo firefighter Jenny Hill fist-bumps Mark Sobczak, vice president of Teamsters Local 20, as she dispenses beer during the inaugural Toledo Walleye Winter Brewfest. The event Friday night at Fifth Third Field was held in conjunction with the 10-day Winterfest celebration in downtown Toledo, which draws to a close on Sunday.



SPORTS: Falcons eager to play outside, Jan. 2

The Bowling Green State University hockey team will take its turn in the Walleye WinterFest on Saturday when it hosts Robert Morris at Fifth Third Field in a contest starting at noon.

“Right now that’s an exciting thought,” Falcons coach Chris Bergeron said. “But [today], when we practice there for the first time, the energy will grow because it will become more real for us.”

What may be lost in the excitement of the first outdoor hockey game in school history is the fact that BG is playing a contest against a nationally ranked opponent.


PHOTO GALLERY: St. John’s and St. Ignatius play at Fifth Third Field


SPORTS: U.S. team shows off skills against Adrian, Jan. 1

A bright sun masked breezy and frigid conditions on Wednesday at the outdoor rink at Fifth Third Field, where some of the top young American hockey players displayed their talents in downtown Toledo.

The U.S. National Under-18 Team squared off against Adrian College as part of the Walleye's Winterfest event. A hardy and bundled up crowd of 1,906 witnessed USA Hockey's national development team defeat Adrian 6-1.

PHOTO GALLERY: U.S. National Under-18 Team vs. Adrian 


police and fire gameSPORTS: Toledo police, firefighters battle on Wintefest ice, Dec. 31

Billed as a true community event, Winterfest continued in that vein Tuesday night with an exhibition hockey game among the city’s crucial safety personnel.

Officials from the Toledo police and fire departments battled against one another in the annual “Battle of the Badges” hockey game. The contest was played outdoors, under the lights at Fifth Third Field as part of Winterfest, a 10-day event that started Friday and runs through Sunday. The community event features two pro games, as well as more than 150 youth, high school, and adult games; on a rink built at the Mud Hens’ baseball stadium.

Patrolman Kevin Sanders of Canton, Mich., and four-year veteran of the department, played forward for the police, who won the game 7-0. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Battle of the Badges


skatersFESTIVITIES: Skaters twirl, give Winterfest a whirl at Fifth Third Field, Dec. 29

Robbie Adler shifted into overdrive, dodged a few slower skaters, did an ice-hockey stop by the gate, gave Muddy the Mud Hen a high five, and took off, beaming.

The 12-year-old from Toledo was one of 200 skaters who filled to capacity a makeshift outdoor ice rink Sunday during one of the 60-minute open skate sessions offered through Wednesday at Fifth Third Field as part of the 10-day Walleye Winterfest of outdoor games and events launched last Friday. Tickets for open skate sessions were sold out through 9:30 p.m. today.

PHOTO GALLERY: Open skating at Fifth Third Field


SPORTS: High school hockey players make memories on Fifth Third Field ice, Dec. 29

From playing under the baseball stadium lights to hearing their names called by the public address announcer, the memories created by some lucky high school hockey players at Fifth Third Field on Sunday won't soon be forgotten.

Anthony Wayne and Whitmer squared off in an exhibition game as part of the Toledo Walleye's 10-day Winterfest. The Generals defeated the Panthers 8-0 but the defining moments centered around the special atmosphere during the outdoor game.

PHOTO GALLERY:  Anthony Wayne vs Whitmer hockey at Fift Third Field


ECONOMY: Winterfest warms hearts of downtown businesses, Dec. 28

Downtown expects a blizzard of extra business as hockey fans descend on Fifth Third Field for a 10-day extravaganza of outdoor games and events.

Officials predict the roughly 100,000 people attending Walleye Winterfest Fan Fest and associated events will pump a couple million dollars into the economy.

The event, which kicked off Friday and runs through Jan. 4, features Toledo Walleye and college hockey games played on a special ice rink installed on the Mud Hens baseball field as well as open skate sessions and other activities.


FESTIVITIES: Toledo artist makes Winterfest cut with snowflake-making workshop, Dec. 28

Imagination Station hosted the snowflake-making workshop Saturday, and she will return today for another session from noon to 4 p.m.

The downtown science center planned the activity as part of Winterfest, which partnered with community groups for events as well as holding Toledo Walleye and college hockey games on an ice rink at Fifth Third Field.


Winterfest draws fans from near and far, Dec. 28

Dave and Marek Andreoli nestled into their seats at Fifth Third Field, eager for a new outdoor hockey experience.

The Andreolis went to the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and attended the Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park in Detroit.

This year, they traveled from Toronto to take in the first outdoor ECHL hockey game, the marquee event of the Toledo Walleye’s Winterfest.


Walleye play KalamazooSPORTS: No joy in Mudville; Walleye falter in first Winterfest game Dec. 28

The Walleye hosted the first outdoor game in the 26-year history of the ECHL and it attracted the largest crowd in the history of Toledo hockey. The 11,222 spectators packed the Mud Hens' baseball stadium, but Kalamazoo put a damper on the festivities with a late goal and emerged with a 2-1 win over the Walleye.

PHOTO GALLERY: Kalamazoo vs Toledo


FESTIVITIES: Walleye Winterfest action begin downtown, Dec. 27

Toledo resident Brendon Olzak lives and breathes hockey. After learning nearly two years ago that the Walleye Winterfest was in the works, the die-hard hockey fan knew the 10-day extravaganza was going to be his own little piece of heaven.

He and his wife, Samantha, put their employers on notice that they would be on vacation during the last week in December and put some extra cash aside to buy tickets and pay for other festivities.


Sled HockeyA long time coming, Winterfest is finally here, Dec. 27

The anticipation for an unprecedented outdoor hockey game in downtown Toledo has been building for more than two years and with commencement just hours away, appreciation of the event is already exceeding expectations.


SPORTS: Walleye eyes to the sky, Dec. 27

A little more than three months before the start of baseball season, a regulation-size ice rink stretched between first and third base inside the home of the Toledo Mud Hens.

The baseball stadium is scheduled to host the first outdoor ECHL game when the Walleye host the Kalamazoo Wings today at 5:30 p.m.

PHOTO GALLERY: Walleye practice at Fifth Third Field


It’s skate time as Walleye Winterfest begins, Dec. 26

The boards have gone up. The ice has been put down. Fifth Third Field has gone from being an International League baseball stadium and a summertime sports staple to a December outdoor hockey oasis.

Announced more than two years ago, Walleye Winterfest comes to fruition today when Fifth Third Field — the home of the Toledo Mud Hens — becomes home to 10 days of hockey and community festivities.


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