NCAA Hockey: Revisiting the Outdoor Game

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Today, I am going to talk briefly about the outdoor hockey game and the over saturation of them. In my opinion, we have "way" too many outdoor games. At last count, we have about 23 outdoor hockey games this season. That's counting NHL, AHL, juniors and college. If I missed one, I apologize.

Good Afternoon Wilderness... Today, I am going to talk briefly about the outdoor hockey game and the over saturation of them. In my opinion we have "way" too many outdoor games. At last count, we have about 23 outdoor hockey games this season. That's counting NHL, AHL, juniors and college. If I missed one, I apologize.

At what point do we have too many of these spectacles? At what point do we cross the threshold of having too much of a good thing? Colin Campbell, Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League, was on XM Center Ice this morning and he said, “We have milked the outdoor game this season.” I would say Campbell is preaching to the choir. Outdoor games aren't or everyone. I would compare them to the shootout, some people like them, while others do not. Some look at outdoor games as being a gimmick. I am kind of on the fence with the outdoor game, if there was never another one, I wouldn’t be disappointed. I would rather sit in a warm arena than freeze outside at a hockey game.

This past week, the University of Minnesota and Ohio State played in the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium. The event was played in front of 45,021 fans. That actually set an attendance record for a hockey game in the state of Minnesota. Stick tap to the fans that went out and braved the cold weather. Think about this for a minute, 45,021 fans braved the elements to watch UMN and OSU score one goal, between the two teams. One goal. Wow!

Yippy Skippy!

I would think if you're going to hold a historic event such as this, you would find a bigger, more attractive opponent to schedule your outdoor game against. The Gophers played their outdoor game against Ohio State? Yeah, that one. Minnesota and Ohio State have played a grand total of 15 games against each other. With their sweep against the Buckeyes this weekend, Minnesota has an all-time record of 14-1-0 against the Buckeyes.

Why these two teams?

If you're going to schedule a high-profile event like this, you should at least schedule it against a more attractive opponent. I am just throwing it out there. This event would have been more appropriate for an opponent like the Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans or another heated rival. I would have even suggested North Dakota. In my opinion, last year's Hockey City Classic between Wisconsin and Minnesota was way more entertaining, than this year’s Hockey City Classic.

It doesn't sound like Golden Gopher head coach Don Luica was all that excited about having another outdoor game anytime soon.

Lucia, however, demurred when asked whether the Gophers should play another outdoor game and instead lobbied the NHL to schedule one at TCF Bank Stadium.

"I think we'll wait for a while now," Lucia said. "Quite frankly, the next team that deserves to play this is the Wild."

I do agree with coach Lucia, the Wild should get an outdoor game, it does seem like a no-brainer to me. This makes no sense to me, the Minnesota Wild reside in the State of Hockey and have yet to get their own outdoor game. How does that work? Chew on this for a minute, Los Angeles is having an outdoor game before the Minnesota Wild. I would be willing to bet that very few people living in sunny L.A. have skated on an outdoor rink. The things that make you go hmmmm...

The president of the Minnesota Twins would like to see the Minnesota and North Dakota faceoff in an outdoor game at Target Field sooner rather than later. I think that's one outdoor game that I would like to see.

Here's a good one, they had to heat the ice because it was too cold outside. That's the first time that I have seen that one.

The conditions were not terrible, but game time temperature was near zero, and the ice needed to be heated as close to 23 degrees as possible to keep it playable. The ice was choppy, and so was the game, but overall, conditions were ok. (College Hockey News)

As we move forward, I would hope we cut back the amount of outdoor games that we currently have. We have reached the point where we have an over saturation of these games.

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