GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A snowstorm is backed by a chorus of cancellations. Schools get snow days. Community events get called off. Even COVID-19 vaccine clinics get postponed for another day with safer roads. But at Cool Insuring Arena, it’s business as usual.
The Adirondack Thunder hockey team was set to play on Friday night against the visiting Fort Wayne Komets. It’s their second of three games together this week, following one on Wednesday (a 4-3 win for the Thunder) and preceding a final match on Saturday. As flakes continued to fly as Friday morning ended, the snow day didn’t show much sign of quelling the loyal crowd that comes to the Glens Falls team’s games.
“Mostly what it affects is our walkup,” said arena group sales director Jeff Casey. “Where on a normal night, we’ll get anywhere from 600 to 800 walkups, weather can bring it to 200 to 280.”
While the box office might be a bit less busy than it has been on many game nights this season, Casey had already taken some calls to reserve seats on Friday morning. He and ticket sales director Sean Driscoll were getting calls from last-minute fans, as some take until the day of to decide whether to come see the action. For the Glens Falls locals, though, it’s a no-brainer.
“Six feet of snow, two feet of snow, an inch of snow; they’re coming,” Casey said. “It’s the casual fans that the weather effects.”
There were plenty of seats still open for Friday night’s game as of midday. Some people will call and cancel if the foot of snow and ice make getting out of the driveway impossible. Driscoll says that a lot of the biggest loyalists are within a couple miles of the arena, located downtown right by the bridge into South Glens Falls.
Even so, those nearby locals who don’t miss a match aren’t the only ones braving slippery roads to be there. Casey said a couple who had just called on Friday morning is traveling from Gloversville. Whether from far or wide, another thing pulling people in through several inches of slush is the excitement that can surround repeat games.
“Same team, same opponent,” said Driscoll, who is the face of the ticket office and hears that excitement from walk-ins. “That helps, too. People that missed Wednesday, or heard about Wednesday, or even were here Wednesday, they want to come back and see this one.”
Anytime there’s a snowstorm like this one, it’s likely that the arena will get a call or two asking if a game is canceled. Since Fort Wayne has been in town since Tuesday, staying at the nearby Queensbury Hotel, travel for players isn’t a concern.
In the last five or six years, Casey can recall only twice when weather conditions stopped an ECHL team from making it to Glens Falls altogether. The Maine Mariners were unable to make the trek down one winter. Another time, snow damage on the arena’s aged roof created a hole that started leaking, which wouldn’t be corrected in time. That roof is currently being replaced by the city of Glens Falls.
There are other ways the weather can get in teams’ way. Two years ago – the 2020 New Year’s Eve game – the Newfoundland Growlers found themselves unable to leave after the game, spending an extra night at the Queensbury.
One year, the Thunder was playing against the Reading Royals in Pennsylvania. The plan was for both teams to then travel to Glens Falls for another round on the Thunder’s turf. Foul weather slowed down the roads, and the game didn’t get going until around 9 p.m. Even two hours late, though, the puck hit the ice, and the fans were there to enjoy it.
And on Friday night, the Thunder’s snow day game is expected to have the same effect – but on time. Doors open at 6, and the puck drops at 7, for both Friday and Saturday night’s games at Cool Insuring Arena.