|Frozen Fenway from when BU beat|
BC 3-2 in 2010.
(Photo from Sky Scraper City.com)
So, when does playing a game outdoors become overdone? Umm... how 'bout right now. Something that used to be a special thing that a program did once -if that- has now turned into a regular occurrence. Only three teams (Merrimack, Providence, and Lowell) from Hockey East have not played a game at the Fens.
Outdoor hockey used to be something that was limited to ponds and backyard rinks. Now we have million dollar rinks being placed in the middle of giant sports stadiums without a roof. The sight lines suck. The ice is no better, and its freezing cold.
No, I'm not writing this because BU is not playing at Fenway. In fact, I'm actually happy they're not. If I want to freeze my ass off at a game I'll go up to Merrimack. I'm writing this because someone needs to put an end to outdoor hockey. Save it for the ponds.
It will be interesting to see what happens when a school pours tons of money into building a rink outdoors and 10,000 people show up for an event that was supposed to sell out a 45,000 seat professional baseball stadium.
Yes, Winter Classic games used to be very cool. In the early 2000's when Michigan and Michigan State played at Sparty's football stadium it looked really cool. Yes, the first Winter Classic was a spectacle at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. The snow was falling and Sidney Crosby's shoot-out winning goal to put the Penguins past the Sabres was sweet to watch. Ever since then, the outdoor game has been so watered down that the NHL is now playing two of them a year and not just one.
If college teams want to draw big crowds and make money, there are other ways at going at it than the outdoor game. Take Red Hot Hockey for example. BU and Cornell have sold out Madison Square Garden in New York City twice (and it will be solid out again this year). The place is rocking, and oh by the way, its not 25 degrees in there. Another example is North Dakota's game against Clarkson this season. That game will be played indoors in the hockey crazed city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Hell, you could probably sell out a mite tournament in Winnipeg right now.
All kidding aside, there are other ways to promote the game other than games outside. The Winter Classic is cool, don't get me wrong, but this year alone there are 10 outdoor games* scheduled in North America alone.
Enough is enough.
* the 10 games are made up of NCCA, NHL, AHL and CHL teams and this does not count the probably numerous high school or lower level outdoor games to be played.