The Battles on Ice is set, the rink is going up and we all know the temperature is cold enough to keep the ice from melting. Ten thousand tickets have already been sold, but day of the event sales could pack TD Ameritrade Park.
The Mutual of Omaha: Battles on Ice is shaping up to be a big day not only for outdoor ice hockey, but for the downtown area as well.
The Lincoln Stars are traveling up I-80 to take on the Lancers at 12:30 p.m. and the University of North Dakota will skate against UNO at 4 p.m.
We took a look at the temporary rink going up on the infield of TD Ameritrade Park. Early Friday afternoon, the boards were being placed around what will be the ice for the Battles on Ice. The contests will be a first for the area, outdoor hockey on a recycled sheet of ice.
After the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at CenturyLink Center Omaha, the same rink was dismantled and will now host two outdoor hockey games.
"That's part of the fun of having an experience like this," said Harold Cliff with the Omaha Sports Commission. "The coaches have been very cooperative knowing that it is a league game and realizing that it is a unique experience for their players and their coaching skills are going to come into play as well as how to deal with it."
The Lancers and Mavs play to packed houses and loud fans. Officials expect Stars and Sioux fans to follow their teams and bump attendance over 15,000. But the crowd may not translate into decibels.
"It's going to be a different crowd noise and you'll also have the elements to contend with," said Cliff. "If it's a sunny day you might have to end up having that as a factor, if it's a windy day or if it snows or rains and the audience is a little farther away."
There will be a number of events in the area on February 9th. In addition to the two hockey games, Dancing with the Stars, a home and garden show and the Bluejays tip-off that evening.
Metro will be running a special bus service in the downtown area that day, charging 25 cents per ride and buses will be running every 10 minutes.