Do Professional Hockey And Yosemite National Park Belong Together?
Coming to the national park nearest you, professional hockey!
OK, not every national park, just Yosemite National Park. And really, it's semi-pro hockey, not the NHL.
But still, the question of whether this is an appropriate event for a national park bubbles to the surface. True, it's not as controversial as Toyota taking over Alcatraz Island for a private party complete with booze and burlesque.
But should there be a semi-pro hockey game played across from Half Dome and beneath Glacier Point?
Next Monday, the 14th, at 5:15 p.m. and again at 6:15 p.m. the double-A Fresno Falcons hockey team, and sidekick Freddie Falcon, will make an appearance at the Curry Village ice rink in Yosemite Valley.
Park officials are so excited about this that they're encouraging live satellite broadcasts of the event. "Special arrangements can be made to coincide with live shots during 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts," they say.
Is this an attempt to compete with Disneyland?
Absolutely not, says Yosemite spokeswoman Adrienne Freeman. More simply, it's designed as a community event, one geared to the kids who live in Yosemite year-round and who even have their own hockey league, she says.
“I really do believe that it’s an opportunity for the kids in the club to come out to see some real hockey,” Ranger Freeman says. "If you question having the team play, do you also question having the rink? Many people do.”
But if hockey goes over big in Yosemite, what's next? Will the Billings Mustangs be invited to make an appearance at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park? Perhaps the Colorado Rockies can head up the road to Rocky Mountain National Park for an event.