Harrisburg is a city people flock to for jobs, entertainment and to enjoy the city life. If you’re a major sports fan of hockey, baseball or soccer, Harrisburg has you covered with some fantastic professional teams you can watch throughout the year. It’s the perfect location to live, but it’s ideal to partner with the right group when you’re looking to rent a home in the best location.
Triple Crown Corporation will help determine your budget and the ultimate setting for the rental community that best suits you and your interests. Harrisburg isn’t short of a good time — especially if you love the live entertainment of watching sports and supporting your local teams.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at Harrisburg’s local sports teams like Penn FC, the Senators, the Hershey Bears and the Harrisburg Heat.
1. The Evolution of Penn FC in the City of Harrisburg
Formerly known as the Harrisburg City Islanders, the city’s soccer team was founded in 2004. While the team upheld the City Islanders name for 14 years, they underwent a name change beginning in November 2017 as a re-branding strategy. Penn Football Club — or Penn FC — infers Harrisburg will continue its commitment to soccer in Central Pennsylvania as it was founded in 2018.
The new-branded team will continue to build on the City Islander legacy, and it offers a better way to connect the players and coaches to the Central PA community.
As the sanctioned professional team of Rush Soccer and Central PA’s skilled United Soccer League team, Penn FC is on the crest of one of the world’s most impactful soccer development systems. With the combination of Rush Soccer, majority owner George Altirs and local owner Eric Pettis, Harrisburg’s soccer team commits itself to being ambitious, progressive and comprehensive. Penn FC is determined to be a U.S. soccer powerhouse devoted to providing an unmatched soccer experience to all players and fans.
The Team’s 2018 Season
To kick off the 2018 season, Penn FC will attend the Eastern Conference in the 12th position. On March 24, 2018, they started off with one loss against Charleston Battery. However, they have the entire season to round up first place. Upcoming games include those against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Atlanta United 2, Nashville SC and North Carolina FC, among others teams. Their season lasts from Saturday, March 24 to Saturday, October 13, 2018.
If you live in the Harrisburg area, attending a home game for your local soccer team should be on top of the to-do list. Penn FC plays each home game at FNB Field, which scores up to 17 matches at home field for the 2018 season.
Nineteen players are on the roster, and the team continued to sign new players as the season began. Since March 15, they signed Lucky Mkosana, Richard Menjivar, Saalih Muhammad and Tommy Heinemann. Team stats as of March 30, 2018, include one game and one loss. Penn FC lost by one point, but the men reached an average possession of 55 percent. They also calculated 456 passes total, and 336 were successful.
As a recap of the 2017 season, former City Islanders played 32 games, won 10 and lost 15 with a 76 percent success rate for passes.
Penn FC Juniors
While Penn FC focuses on the professional team to develop proficient skills through training, practices and games, the club also devotes time to youth soccer programs. The aim of the Penn FC Juniors is to train and provide different playing opportunities for young soccer players in the area. Using various resources like college coaches and staff, they can develop active and strong players who will undergo physical, tactile, technical and mental training.
Through the Penn FC Juniors program, kids can progress their level of skill, which will help them advance to higher forms of competition for when they choose to pursue a school or club team.
2. The Harrisburg Senators
The Harrisburg Senators are the state capital’s Minor League Baseball team. As a Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Senators will compete in the Western and Eastern Divisions for the 2018 season with 22 players on the roster. With 12 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and two outfielders, their schedule begins Thursday, April 5, 2018, at an away game against the Bowie Baysox.
The Senators’ season continues until Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. In the Western Division, they play teams like the Altoona Curve, Bowie Baysox, Erie SeaWolves and Richmond Flying Squirrels. They play teams such as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Reading Fightin Phils and Trenton Thunder in the Eastern Division. With an entire season ahead of them, the Senators will be sure to entertain the community with some thrilling baseball games.
The Harrisburg Senators perform at FNB Field, which underwent a several million dollar renovation. It was set to begin in 2005, but the operations were delayed. The first stage of the refurbishment opened at the beginning of the 2009 season, and the second stage was completed before the 2010 season started.
The ballpark offers a Capital BlueCross Boardwalk and modern video system as well as chair-back seats that can seat about 6,000 fans. FNB Field has 21 corporate suits and three dugout suits aside the visitor’s pit. It also offers a Kids Zone along with dozens of food options and plenty of restrooms for fans.
With their uniforms sporting the official colors of gold, navy blue and metallic, the Harrisburg Senators had 2017 standing in the Western Division with 60 wins and 80 losses. Overall, the team has earned nine Eastern League titles. They’re also the first Minor League team to achieve four wins in a row. In 1993, the Senators were acknowledged as one of the 100 ultimate Minor League squads.
Dating back further, Harrisburg baseball started in 1907 as the team played for the “D” Tri-State League. After the 1952 season, the Senators moved to class “B” but then ended their playing time on the field — but not before they stirred up some controversy.
In 1952, the club signed Eleanor Engle, who was a 24-years-old, local female baseball player. Signed to play shortstop, Engle was known for hitting better than the men on her team. Within the first four games of her career, however, she suited up in her uniform and never stepped foot onto the field. Of course, it caused an uproar, and she was later voided from signing the team. While reasons for the dispute are unclear, Eleanor Engle is still known for playing like a pro.
After the team’s break from the pitching mound, they came back in 1987. From 1996–1999, the Harrisburg Senators were on a winning streak of four Eastern League Championships. In the past several years, they’ve also sent more than 100 players to take on the professionals in the Major Leagues.
The Senators’ Dedication
“We live here, we play here.”
As your local baseball team, the Harrisburg Senators commit themselves to the community by participating in various events and outreach programs. They uphold a proud involvement with the surrounding areas and contribute to the growth, enjoyment and education of fans. The team gets involved with educational programs, fundraising, networking, charitable events and youth sporting events.
3. Your Local Hockey Team — The Hershey Bears
The history of the Hershey Bears dates back to the infamous man of Milton S. Hershey. In 1932, he established the Hershey Hockey Club, which managed professional hockey teams in the area. In the past 90 years, the club has worked with four teams in three professional leagues. Since the 1938–39 season, the Bears have been playing in the American Hockey League, making them the longest consecutive operating member.
2017–2018 Bears Season
On Sept. 27, 2017, the hockey team began their first pre-season game and played one more before the official regular season games started Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Playing teams like the Charlotte Checkers, Hartford Wolf Pack, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Rochester Americans and Milwaukee Admirals, the Hershey Bears are working their way to the top position.
As of Thursday, March 29, 2018, the team has racked up 1,847 shots on goal, which is sure to skyrocket by the end of the season — Sunday, April 15, 2018. With 28 players on the roster, the professional ice hockey team plays at the Giant Center in Hershey. It’s close to the Hersheypark Arena, which was their previous home. They have five games in April to flush out the season. Three away games and two home games will give you plenty of time to support your Bears!
On Jan. 20, 2018, the Bears hosted the AHL Outdoor Classic — which was the AHL’s 10th outdoor game — at the Hersheypark Stadium. The Bears competed against Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where they lost 5-2 in front of about 13,000 fans.
For the Bears’ 2016–2017 season, they played a total of 76 games, winning 43 and losing 22. They rallied up 97 points and 252 goals, which allowed them to gain third place in the Atlantic Division. Also during the 2015–16 and 2014–15 seasons, they won first in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, respectively. This beloved hockey team has also won 11 Calder Cups, which is more than any other AHL team.
Registered with almost 30 players, the Bears have offensive players like Chris Bourque, Travis Boyd, Wayne Simpson and Riley Barber and are racking up some serious shots on their opponents since the season began. Chris Bourque’s statistics read 166 shots on goal with an 8.4 percentage and 49 scoring points.
Travis Boyd tallied 144 shots on goal so far, ranking to a 10.4 shot percentage and 45 points. Wayne Simpson comes in third, with the most scored points at 39 with 126 shots on goal and a 10.3 shooting percentage. Riley Barber has the most shots on goal, with 178, an 11.2 shooting percentage and 38 points attributing to the Bears’ games. Together, the team has united to achieve 1,860 SOG and 502 points.
When it comes to the Bears’ goalies, Adam Carlson, Pheonix Copley, Vitek Vanecek and Parker Milner have had an impressive 2017–18 season as well. They’ve saved a total of 1,739 shots.
Hershey’s Giant Center
Playing in their chocolate, tan, cocoa and white jerseys, the Hershey Bears began playing in the Giant Center during their 2002–2003 season. The multi-purpose arena seats about 10,500 fans and also hosts concerts and other venues. Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company operates the center, and it’s owned by the Giant-Carlisle grocery store.
4. The Harrisburg Heat Soccer Team
The Harrisburg Heat is a professional indoor soccer team associated with the Major Arena Soccer League. With 26 players registered on the roster and three goalkeepers, the heat won 10 games and lost 13 during the 2017–18 season. From Nov. 5, 2017, to March 15, 2018, they played a total of 23 games, and several players made astounding hits on the record book.
The midfielder, Thiago Freitas, played in 22 games, scoring 11 goals and assisting with 26 others, totaling 37 points for the Heat. Ricardo Carvalho, also a midfielder, racked up 21 played games, 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points. Lucio Gonzaga, defender, played on the field for 19 games and helped the team with 17 goals and seven assists for a tally of 24 points.
Goalkeeper Hugo Silva played 20 games, saving 272 hits with about a 70 percent save rate. During the regular season, the Harrisburg Heat had an average number of goals at 5.2 and a penalty kill percentage of 62.
Your local soccer team plays at the New Holland Arena, located at the PA Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. Once known as the Large Arena, it seats about 7,300 fans and is 28,000 square feet — enough room for fans and players alike. They moved from the Equine Arena to New Holland to start off the 2014–15 season.
History of the Heat
Before the 1991–92 season began, Dr. Rex Herbert formed the Harrisburg Heat. With the support of Herbert and the help of a few other investors, the team became one of the most finically stable crews in the league. However, because of different struggles and the construction project associated with the Farm Show Complex, as well as the changing of parking regulations, the Heat team experienced short numbers.
A portion of ownership then passed from Herbert to Rodney Rumberger, but the Heat soccer team dissolved in the 2002–03 season as players retired or signed elsewhere. While the club experienced no activity for several years, they rolled back around about a decade later.
In May 2012, an extension team named after the Harrisburg Heat joined the PASL for the fall season. Founded in 2012 as the new soccer team of the city, the Heat is now part of the Major Arena Soccer League — MASL — which is the re-branded name for PASL. In 2016, they were about to join the Indoor Professional team but opted to stay and sign another contract with the MASL.
Also in 2016, Carl Delmont purchased the Harrisburg Heat from John Wilsbach and now serves as the team’s CEO and General Manager. Denison Cabral became the head coach for 2016–17 and 2017–18 season.
Support Your Local Sports Teams
If you live in the city of Harrisburg or surrounding areas, it’s easy to support your soccer, baseball and ice hockey teams! Whether you want to go out with your co-workers to watch a few matches or attend with a few family members or friends, you can entertain the sports enthusiast inside you all year round.
Triple Crown Corporation Can Help You Settle Into the City
Enjoy your Harrisburg sports teams as often as possible by finding your ideal rental home with Triple Crown Corporation. We have ongoing plans to refresh homes in all our communities, with several in-house restoring teams that complete upgrades to keep your home modern. If you’re a huge soccer fan and want to attend every Penn FC match, we can find you the perfect location that’s close enough to the stadium.