The city will host the first Federal Hockey League All Star Game played outdoors Jan. 2 at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said he will drop the puck on center ice at 7:05 p.m., as a team with 19 players, one representing the Williamsport Outlaws, face off against 19 players from five other teams in the league.
The game has the best players in the league challenging each other, including those from the New York Bluefins, Dayton Demonz, Danville Dashers, Danbury Whalers and 1000 Islands Privateers.
Campana considers the game, pre-game events and a post-game afterparty to be a chance to firm up the city's tourism dollars.
After cancellation of the National Hockey League's annual outdoor Winter Classic because of a dispute between labor and owners, it's a chance for hockey fans to see the best of the FHL.
"We want fans of that game to travel to Williamsport to stay overnight or come to our city and visit what we have to offer," he said.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Federal Hockey League's All Star Game
WHEN: 7 p.m. Jan. 2
WHERE: AIrmen Pond at Bowman Field
Earlier in the day, a celebrity of the silver screen, Paul D'Amato, who played Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken in the classic hockey movie, "Slap Shot," which starred the late Paul Newman, will be at the Genetti Hotel for a noon luncheon.
The schedule of events includes a 10 a.m. practice at the Pond with FHL All Stars in attendance, the luncheon at noon, the All Stars Skills Challenge at 4 p.m., an autograph session at 5 p.m., warm-ups at 6:30 p.m., the game at 7:05 p.m. and a post-game party at a local bar and grille to be decided at 10 p.m.
Should the Outlaws, who are in second place in their league, be part of the playoffs, they will play at arenas outside of the city. Four teams get to play in the playoffs.
The outdoor rink will be disassembled after the conclusion of the regular season Jan. 21.
There's a good chance the Outlaws may be playing indoors starting next fall, Campana said.
Negotiations continue between the team owners and Dan Klingerman, owner of The Liberty Group, 1500 Sycamore Road, Loyalsock Township, who recently purchased the YMCA and Pickelner Arena and plans to add seating and other amenities to the arena, including expansion of the facility, Campana said.
The game is the first of its kind featuring the best in professional sports in 50 years history at the stadium. In 1960, the Williamsport Grays baseball team played in the Eastern League All Star Game at Bowman Field.