The Premier Hockey Federation’s Metropolitan Riveters will play their home games starting this season at the American Dream, a mega mall in New Jersey, the team announced Wednesday.
The Riveters have reached a three-year agreement to hold all practice sessions and home games at American Dream’s NHL-sized ice rink, which seats approximately 2,000 spectators. The rink is near an indoor water park, a Ferris wheel, and several aisles of retail outlets.
“They have a tremendous array of attractions,” Frank Supovitz, a fan experiences consultant for the Riveters, told ESPN. “It’s an entertainment hub that caters to every member of the family. And that’s where the experience of a Riveters game will fit so well.”
American Dream is located in East Rutherford, adjacent to the arena where the New Jersey Devils played from 1982-2007. The Riveters have played their home games at the Devils training track in Newark since 2016.
Riveters President Digit Murphy said the relationship with American Dream began when the team trained there last season, but she initially had some reservations about using the mall for home games.
“I say, ‘Our team doesn’t play in a mall,'” Murphy said. “But then I went down there and it was like Disney [World]. I was like, ‘We’re definitely going to play here next season.’ The Devils’ training facility was great, but it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
Ticket plans are still being created. There will be two rows of seats on the first floor next to the ice rink. The second floor will have “premium seating” at tables, with tickets that could include food, merchandising, and player meet-and-greets as perks. The Riveters anticipate the mall’s third level will be open to pedestrians and onlookers.
“It’s an opportunity to spread excitement among people who didn’t know they were going to have a hockey experience that morning,” Supovitz said.
The Riveters said they expect buyers at American Dream will try out their games without buying a ticket. In addition to the open third floor above the rink, there are restricted view areas on other levels that are part of the public hall.
“We’re not going to kick people out for watching the game, especially as our top priority is exposing the game [to new fans]’ Murphy said.
There are also plans to incorporate aspects of the mall into the gaming experience and vice versa. Murphy said premium tickets could include discounts to other attractions at American Dream, including an indoor theme park, water park and aquarium. The Riveters could advertise stores in the mall; Murphy suggested that players could participate in on-ice fashion shows, for example. American Dream Riveters merchandise is expected to be available at the rink pro shop and a kiosk at the mall.
“American Dream is committed to growing the game and supporting female athletes, and I very much look forward to calling the complex home for many years to come,” said Riveters Captain Madison Packer. “It will truly redefine the gaming experience for sporting events and expand our reach to fans across the Tri-State area.”
The Riveters’ home games at American Dream will be announced later this month when PHF releases the 2022-23 regular season schedule.