DENVER – Coors Field is all set to host the “Battle on Blake” next year, but it won’t be the Dodgers, Giants, Padres or even the Rockies playing in front of the crowds next February.
In tandem with the NHL’s Stadium Series, which will see the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings face off at Coors Field on Feb. 27, 2016, collegiate hockey rivals Denver and Colorado College will contest the Gold Pan a week prior. The Feb. 20 game will be the home game for DU in a home and home series for the two National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) programs that weekend.
“This is going to add to the great tradition between CC and Denver,” DU Hockey head coach Jim Montgomery said during Monday’s press conference announcing the event.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be announcing this game, which we are very pleased to do in partnership with our longtime rivals Colorado College as well as the Colorado Rockies and NCHC,” DU Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes added. “The Denver hockey program has a proud tradition and rich history, having won seven national championships, made 14 Frozen Four appearances and won 29 total conference championships, and this game will further add to the Pioneers’ legacy. This game at Coors Field will also add a new dimension to our storied rivalry with the Tigers, and we can’t wait to pack the park with college hockey fans in February.”
The rivalry between DU and Colorado College dates back to dates back to 1950, with the Pioneers having gone 165-116-17 in 298 all-time meetings with the Tigers. Denver swept Colorado College in the teams’ four-game season series this past season to reclaim the Gold Pan Trophy, bestowed annually upon the winner of the DU-CC series.
“We are thrilled to be taking our rivalry with the University of Denver outside in 2016,” CC Athletic Director Ken Ralph says. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players and we are grateful to the Colorado Rockies, the Coors Field staff and the University of Denver for making this a reality for our team. We are looking forward to a large crowd in a beautiful setting as our teams display that college hockey is indeed thriving in the state of Colorado.”
It’s not the first time two college hockey rivals have met outdoors in recent years. Michigan played rivals Michigan State at the Big House and Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium back in 2010. That same season, Boston College and Boston University played each other at “Frozen Fenway”, a week after the NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers was played at Fenway Park.
It’s also part of a growing trend for the NCHC. Most recently, the Miami Redhawks competed alongside Michigan, Michigan State and Western Michigan at the Hockey City Classic hosted at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
But it will be the first time a non-baseball sporting event will be hosted by the Rockies at Coors Field.
“Hosting DU and CC in their very first collegiate game outdoors and the first at Coors Field will be an exciting event for local fans and another first for our organization,” said Colorado Rockies Executive VP/Chief Operating Officer Greg Feasel.
Ticketing information for the event will be announced at a later date.