Go Professional: Right Here in Rochester
by Samantha Wagner | published Mar. 3rd, 2017
The city of Rochester is jam-packed with professional sports leagues. Year-round there are plenty of sports found throughout the city — including baseball, hockey, lacrosse, basketball and soccer. Reporter reached out to a few of these teams to discuss and highlight some of the entertainment they have to offer.
The Rochester Americans (Amerks):
“Back in the early 1950s, Montreal Canadiens manager Frank Selke promised that the city of Rochester, known for its cold and frigid weather, would eventually be home to an American Hockey League franchise,” said Warren Kosel, the director of public and media relations for the Rochester Amerks.
The promise was upheld. By June 1956, the American Hockey League (AHL) granted a franchise and the team began to play that season. The Amerks are now in the midst of their 61st season as part of the AHL.
Throughout their long history, the Amerks have won a total of six Calder Cups. The team is also one of eight pro hockey franchises to win 2,000 or more games. Along with a thriving franchise, the team brings in a record-breaking number of attendees as well.
“[The Amerks] typically rank among the top 10 teams in the AHL in average attendance each season,” explained Kosel.
"We typically rank among the top 10 teams in the AHL in average attendance each season," explained Kosel. “We also host several different theme nights throughout the season as well as offer new promotions that we know our fans are excited to be a part of.”
Some of these include a Halloween-themed night — when kids are invited to dress up and trick-or-treat during the intermissions. Puck Paws Night, when fans are allowed to bring their dogs, is another favorite event. The list continues with Youth Hockey Night, Super Hero Night, Star Wars Night and many others that can spark interest for just about anyone.
Besides fun themed nights, fans can look forward to seeing the team itself .
“Fans should be excited about a young, talented team on the rise,” said Kosel. “So far this season, we’ve seen 12 different players earn a call-up to the Sabres, including 3 that have made their NHL debuts, and they all have been contributing.”
So make sure to check out the Rochester Amerks for a night full of fun and an exciting, talented team.
The Rochester RazorSharks:
The RazorSharks were founded in 2005 by Dr. Sev Hrywnak, who still owns the team today. When first established, the team was part of the American Basketball Association (ABA) . After two seasons, Rochester ended up leaving the ABA to become one of the founding members of the Premier Basketball League (PBL).
“The ABA has a very large number of teams,” explained Matt Cahill, the front office manager for the Rochester RazorSharks. “I don’t think Dr. Hrywnak was very fond of that system and wanted to create a more prestigious league.”
Throughout their short run in the ABA, the team was able to win the championship title in the 2005–06 season. Since joining the PBL, the team has won a total of six championships. For the past three years, the RazorSharks have won three straight titles and are looking to grab another.
"Our team has depth at every position on the court, which really helps guys pick each other up when someone is having a rough day."
“Our team has depth at every position on the court, which really helps guys pick each other up when someone is having a rough day,” described Cahill when asked about how the team plans to respond to the pressure of aiming for four consecutive titles. “[This] makes it much easier on the coaches when they have such a depth of talent and variety of playing styles to choose from at different points in the game.”
Along with watching the successful team, there are other reasons to check out the RazorSharks. Like the Amerks, the RazorSharks plan some special events for all sorts of crowds.
“We will be holding a military appreciation night at some point. Last year we had special camouflage jerseys made, which were raffled off during the game,” said Cahill. “That was a big hit and we’d like to do it again this year.”
For a team that has consistently dominated its league, make sure to visit the Blue Cross Arena to watch your local RazorSharks.
The Rochester Red Wings:
Rochester’s professional baseball history can be traced back to 1877, but the franchise the city has become familiar with was shaped a little later down the road.
"The modern era of the Rochester Red Wings began in 1957," described Nate Rowan, the Red Wings' director of communications.
The St. Louis Cardinals used to own the Red Wings but made the decision to sell the team after the 1956 season.
“Morrie Silver, a local music store owner and real estate developer, organized a stock drive during the winter of 1956–57 to keep the team in Rochester,” explained Rowan.
Today, Rochester is a member of the 14-team international league. Since 2003, the team has been the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Formerly, the Baltimore Orioles and the Cardinals served as the Red Wings' affiliates.
Along with the Red Wings' rich history, every season the ballpark stacks its calendar full of entertaining promotions to live up to the standards of being America's favorite pastime.
“As always, the Rochester Red Wings offer some of the most affordable family fun in the area,” said Rowan. “Our fireworks nights every Friday and Saturday night beginning May 26 are huge draws, especially for families.”
"Our schedule is favorable and if the weather cooperates, we could be in for one heck of a summer."
“Additionally, we have a jam-packed promotional schedule that will be announced hopefully later this month that will appeal to fans of all ages," Rowan said. "While it’s too early to know how good the actual team on the field will be, our schedule is favorable and if the weather cooperates we could be in for one heck of a summer.”
As the weather gets warmer and baseball season starts, clear a day in your busy spring schedule in order to see what the Rochester Red Wings
Watching and participating in sports around campus is always a good idea, but sometimes branching out to check out the professional scene can be fun too. Whatever the sport may be, Rochester's teams all seem to bring their share of entertainment and talent to the table. Whether you're in the mood for an exhilarating night at the ice rink, some action-packed fun on the court or sitting back and relaxing at the ballpark, these three local teams are just around the corner.