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Crunch time for outdoor Crunch game

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was in Syracuse Monday Aug. 3 to lend his support to the proposed outdoor Syracuse Crunch hockey game. In an address liberally spiced with hockey jargon, Schumer said that "The clock is ticking on this issue and a high level meeting will help us break this neutral zone trap and get things going. I am confident that with everyone together at one table, we can come to a mutual agreement to hold a hockey game at the state fair (grounds). The move will be a power play for partied involved, providing an economic boost to the area and exposing the Syracuse Crunch to a larger fan base."

The target date for the regular season American League game is set at Dec. 5. Time Warner Cable has agreed to televise the game regionally and guarantee $250,000 in advertising.

Schumer emphasized the need for all parties involved to move quickly. He said that he would personally encourage the heads of the New York State Fair, the State Department of Agriculture and markets, the Empire State Development Corporation and the Crunch to meet to draft a plan that includes cost estimates for the game and associated considerations, such as security, publicity and site preparation. An appropriate rink would have to be created that was of acceptable quality to the AHL, and probably the National Hockey League as well.

He offered to "do everything in my power to help with federal and corporate funding," and would attend meetings with the funding partners if that would help.

Sen. Schumer has been actively supporting Crunch owner Howard Dolgon's attempt to bring outdoor professional hockey to the state fairgrounds. According to Schumer, the game, the first ever outdoor AFL game, has been approved by the AHL.

"We have an opportunity here to make history, but if we don't act soon, we could lose that chance. I urge the leading voices on this issue to come together and formulate a plan of action so that we can ensure the success of this game."

The Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the game would generate some $1,000,000 in tourism revenue.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney added, "We need to be aggressive and keep doing these things that make our county great. This is a chance to generate real dollars, a real economic boost for Onondaga County. We are very happy that Senator Schumer has come to town to help."

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