San Jose to host AHL All-Star Classic, maybe an outdoor game

San Jose to host AHL All-Star Classic, maybe an outdoor game

SAN JOSE – The San Jose Barracuda will host the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic, the league announced Wednesday, and one of the team’s top executives hinted the franchise would also like to host an outdoor game in the area.

The AHL announced that the All-Star Classic, its marquee regular-season event, will take place Feb. 4-5, 2024 at Tech CU Arena, the new 4,200-seat home of the Barracuda that will open next to Solar4America Ice in San Jose in August.

The event will also include a skills competition and the AHL Hall of Fame induction and awards ceremony.

Scott Howson, the AHL’s President and CEO, said he toured the new arena about two months ago. The Sharks moved their AHL affiliate from Worcester, Mass. to San Jose in 2015, and since then, the Barracuda has played most of its home games at SAP Center.

“We just know it’s going to be a first-class of event out in San Jose,” Howson said.

The Barracuda is hoping the new arena, and other marquee events — such as the possibility of an outdoor game — can raise the visibility of the franchise in a crowded Bay Area sports market.

Per, an average of only 1,789 tickets were distributed per Barracuda home game at SAP Center this season, the second-lowest figure in the AHL and ahead only of Stockton (1,713). Some home games were played at Solar4America Ice, which has a much smaller seating capacity.

The Barracuda and the AHL bill themselves as a family-friendly place to watch future NHL players at a more affordable price. A basic full 36-game season ticket plan at Tech CU Arena next season ranges from $360 to $1,440 per person.

Eric Grundfast, the Barracuda’s director of business operations, recalled saying when he joined the organization nine months ago that, “things are going to change here. We’re going to refresh the organization, we’re going to relaunch the organization, and this was one of the first things that I brought up to him was hosting (the All-Star Game).

“It’s something we’re excited about. We want to really showcase San Jose, showcase the facility and showcase a beautiful city that we’re in here. It’s an opportunity for us to show it off to the league, to the market, to the veterans across the league as we’re trying to bring in talent.”

Tech CU Arena from Sept. 16-19 will host the Rookie Faceoff tournament, which will feature NHL prospects from the Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, Arizona Coyotes, and Colorado Avalanche.

Grundfast said the Barracuda has talked about potentially holding an outdoor game in 2025.

“We really want to showcase the organization and the Barracuda,” he said, “and create staple events to entrench ourselves more in the marketing and community.”

Potential venues for a San Jose outdoor game include Excite Ballpark (formerly Municipal Stadium) CEFCU Stadium (formerly Spartan Stadium) or PayPal Park, the Earthquakes’ home field.

“It’s in the early stages. I’d say to stay tuned,” Grundfast said. “This is something that I’ve talked about at the senior level with the organization, and I know there’s excitement around these events. We’ve gone two for two so far, getting the prospects game here and the All-Star Game.”

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