IF YOU GO
What: Skate for the Heart
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Covelli Centre
Tickets: $36.50, $51.50, $69.50 and $89.50 at the arena box office; online at Ticketmaster.com; at select Giant Eagle and Macy’s stores; and by phone at 800-745-3000. Additional fees may be applicable.
229 E. Front St., Youngstown
Ryan: Skating event puts city in limelight
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
The Covelli Centre is hoping for a last-minute ticket- sales flurry to pack the house for Sunday’s Skate for the Heart event.
The show, which features a dozen world-class ice skaters as well as vocal group Straight No Chaser and singers Ruben Studdard and David Archuleta, will be broadcast nationally by NBC on Jan. 16 at 4 p.m.
It’s an opportunity for Youngstown to gain national exposure, said Eric Ryan, director of the Covelli. About 1,000 tickets remain available for the show.
A similar ice-skating show two years ago at the downtown arena easily sold out. The 2008 event also was taped and shown on national TV.
Ryan points out that Sunday’s show is completely new.
“It’s a one-time-only, made-for-TV event,” he said.
Ryan couldn’t put his finger on exactly why sales have been lagging, though he speculated that it might be too early in the year for interest in ice skating.
One thing working in its favor is that Skate for the Heart will not go head-to-head against either the Steelers or Browns games. The Steelers are in a bye week, and the Browns game starts at 1 p.m. and should be over about 4. Skate for the Heart starts at 5.
The show will be hosted by Olympic medalists Peggy Fleming and Michelle Kwan. Skaters include Joannie Rochette; Meryl Davis and Charlie White; Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto; Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett; and Sasha Cohen, Rachael Flatt, Jeremy Abbott, Johnny Weir and Ryan Bradley.
“The 2008 skating show gave the city a lot of positive press,” said Ryan, adding that Sunday’s event can do it again.
Tony Paglia, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s vice president of government affairs, agreed. He said the 2008 show “reflected well on the Mahoning Valley. We received some great publicity out of it.”
Paglia, who attended that show, said it was a “terrific” event.
“Every time we are on national television in a positive light, it reinforces what we’re trying to do to change our image,” Paglia said. “We have cultural events here. We’re not a beer-and-shot town.”
Contributor: Dave Skolnick, The Vindicator