Sault College’s first Winter Classic is set for this weekend and the reception has been positive for the event.
The school’s hockey team, which competes at the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division 2 level, is set to host the University of West Virginia on Saturday night at the Rankin Arena.
“We think we’ll sell it out,” said Paul Orazietti, manager, athletics at Sault College in a phone interview on Wednesday.
“We’ve sold, just at (the athletics office), 500 tickets and we have 200 out in the community through various groups,” Orazietti also said. “I’d say, spoken for, we probably have 700 out there now between the ones that are paid and the ones that we gave away. We’ll probably have 700 in the building as of today.”
The event, which Orazietti said he hopes will become an annual thing, has been received positively in the city.
“It’s been good,” Orazietti said. “We’re trying to create an event that brings together the things that people in the Sault love the most, which is hockey and college sports and playing against a recognizable opponent and celebrating some of the local hockey talent here.
“It resonates because it’s a hockey town,” Orazietti added.
Orazietti spoke of the ability for ACHA players in that the level of play is “probably about one rung below the equivalency on the NCAA side.”
“Your Division 1 ACHA kids are probably legitimate NCAA Division 2 (players), which for us when we look at that as ACHA Division 2, that’s still a very strong level of hockey,” Orazietti said. “It’s really an accomplishment for a college as small as Sault College to be playing at that level with anybody.”
Through 26 games this season, Sault College has a record of 20-4-2-0.