The NHL is in the final planning stages of a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins for March 1, 2014 at Solider Field. The contest at the home of the Chicago Bears from the NFL is part of a six-game series of outdoor hockey contests. In other words, the Blackhawks playing outside versus Pittsburgh will be one of many. Think of it as an NHL outdoor Lollapalooza.
There isn’t just one band playing, but a whole bunch. If you have the means to travel and the desire to hit them all.
Soldier Field just hosted a college hockey double header on February 17th. The “Hockey City Classic” featured Notre Dame vs. Miami of Ohio and the Wisconsin Badgers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Both games were a rousing success.
The prospect of the Blackhawks playing at Soldier Field blew up Twitter last night, and I don’t know who broke it first.
However, TSN said the events would face off with the previously announced Winter Classic between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1. Which of course was supposed to happen this year, but was cancelled by the lockout. Luckily for the NHL, the game was cancelled at the same time the New York City marathon was called off, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Therefore, the PR fallout for hockey was minimal.
Other outdoor hockey games in the works include the Ducks-Kings at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 (NHL hockey in the heat and sunshine? That should be interesting), Devils-Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 26, Islanders-Rangers on Jan. 29 at the same venue and Senators-Canucks on March 2 at BC Place in Vancouver. I’m sure there are lots of dedicated puckheads who will make the trek to all of them.
So clearly, the NHL is doing as much damage control from the lockout as possible. More outdoor games will help. As will their progressive stance with Gay Rights activist groups.
The Blackhawks last played outside on Jan 1, 2009 at Wrigley Field home of the Chicago Cubs. They lost to the Red Wings 4-2.
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