Frozen Tide no longer a secretPublished 11:57am Tuesday, September 10, 2013
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
For the past several years, Pelham has held one of the “best kept secrets” in Alabama, Mayor Gary Waters told me last week. Having experienced it firsthand many times, I tend to agree with him.
Luckily, the secret has been getting out more year after year, as attendance at the University of Alabama’s Frozen Tide hockey games at the Pelham Civic Complex and Ice Arena have grown steadily for the past few seasons.
From the look of things, hanging on to fans doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Frozen Tide. Once a spectator goes to one game, they are likely to return again and again.
“Before one of the games last year, I walked into the Applebee’s on 119 and saw some guys watching hockey,” Waters told me on Sept. 4. “I walked up to them and said ‘How’d you guys like to go watch the real thing? There’s a college-level game right over there at the Civic Complex tonight.’
“I gave them some tickets, and they came to the game that night,” Waters said. “I’ve seen them at several games since then.”
If you’ve never been to a Frozen Tide game, this season will be a great opportunity to do so. As a result of a contract inked between the city and the Frozen Tide last week, the team will hold 16 home games at the Civic Complex this year.
The Frozen Tide will have its own dedicated locker room at the facility, and will offer some great outreach programs, such as its public learn to skate classes.
The contract also will bring the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference championship to town in February 2014 and the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division III national championship to the Civic Complex in 2015.
The Division III championship features 16 teams each year, and the Frozen Tide has qualified for the tournament each of the past few years.
The team has seen great success over the past few years, and is definitely a team on the rise. Hopefully, the team’s winning ways will turn one of Pelham’s best kept secrets into something known across the country.
Neal Wagner is the city editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.