As exciting as it can be to watch UR sports teams, students needn’t be limited to college athletics to get their fix of live sports. It may come as a surprise to some, but Rochester boasts a plethora of professional sports teams.
“I had no idea we had so many minor league sports teams,” said junior Xiomara Grossett. “I’ve never even heard the name of [any].”
In fact, Rochester is such a big minor league sports city that the Sports Business Journal ranked the city number two in 2013 for top minor league markets in the U.S.
The city’s history with professional sports is rich. It is home to one of the oldest minor league sports team in North America, the Rochester Red Wings.
The Red Wings are a minor league baseball team that have had a presence in Rochester since 1899. The Red Wings, who are the AAA affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, compete in the International League, the highest level in the extensive world of minor league baseball.
Since 1996, the Red Wings have played at Frontier Field in downtown Rochester.
Although the Red Wings are the oldest minor league team in Rochester, they make up only part of the professional sports scene in the city.
Four teams compete at the downtown Blue Cross Arena, most notably the Americans of the American Hockey League. The Amerks, as they are often called, are the minor league affiliate of National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres, a partnership that allows Rochester-area Sabres fans to check out the team’s future stars before they make it big in Buffalo.
Perhaps the most compelling event in recent memory for Rochester sports involves the Amerks, who, on Saturday, Dec. 13, will host the Lake Erie Monsters in an outdoor game at Frontier Field. The outdoor hockey game is the first of it’s kind in the city, and marks the beginning of a weekend of games that will also feature games with local colleges such as R.I.T., Nazareth, and Geneseo.
Also calling Blue Cross Arena home are the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Knighthawks, one of the city’s most successful teams. In both of the past two NLL seasons, the Knighthawks have won the Champion’s Cup, given to the winner of the NLL championship in May.
Unlike the minor-league Amerks and Red Wings, the Knighthawks compete at the highest level of their sport in the premier league for indoor lacrosse in North America.
The RazorSharks are the city’s basketball team, competing in the independent Premier Basketball League. Though not affiliated with any National Basketball Association team, the roster still features almost exclusively former Division I players, leading to a quality of play that should satisfy any fan.
Three soccer teams compete in the area, including the Lancers of the Major Indoor Soccer League. The games take place at Blue Cross Arena, and the smaller, indoor playing field creates a fast-paced style of play quite different from traditional outdoor soccer.
The alliterative Rochester Rhinos are the city’s other men’s soccer team, a member of the United Soccer League. The team plays at one of the newest sports venues in Rochester, the soccer-specific Sahlen’s Stadium, which also hosted UR men’s and women’s soccer games against R.I.T. this fall.
Sahlen’s Stadium is also home to the Western New York Flash of the National Women’s Soccer League. The Flash, led by United States Women’s National Team star and Rochester native Abby Wambach, have had great success in recent years, finishing the regular season in first place this summer.
Rochester may be one of the largest cities in the country without a college featuring an entire program of Division I sports, but between the competitive UR athletics and the numerous professional teams around the city, the Flower City has much to offer everyone, from the casual to the diehard fan.
Cozen is a member of the class of 2015.