In re: NHL goes outside

nhlwinter.jpgIf your not a hockey fan you may have missed a great sporting event today, the NHL winter classic, an outside game (the 2nd time ever for the NHL) was played in the Buffalo Bills football stadium with 70,000 plus fans in attendance for the Sabers vs. Penguins open to the elements.  The game was a regular season game, although with the added need of rules to address a early ending due to the weather (40 mins were decided equal enough for an official game, kinda like baseballs 5 & 1/2 innings.

  One enthusiastic patron held a poster that read, “Look Mom, no roof.”

I think the event is a great idea for cold weather cities on a day when folks have the day off work and a great way to hype a struggling sport to its hard core fans (northern cities where they grow up hockey players and fans).  While having the game occasionally may make it more of a spectacle I think that it would be a great idea to make an annual winter time outdoor tournament part of the NHLs regular season.  How to go about doing this?  Well I think that for a weekend at New Years pause the season and have a 4 team tournament outside at one site and make it a huge party event for hard core hockey fans who are willing to brave temperatures and experience whats looks like an amazing atmosphere and a different style of play because of the elements (no fights seem to happen when its so cold, icing becomes difficult with snow on the ice).  How to make teams care about a four team tournament?  Well, add some prestige or some bonus of getting $1 million for a charity, or make all the proceeds go to charity and the winner get an automatic playoff spot, or something, but I think that it would be a great weekend.

Unfortunately for NBC and the NHL they were right smack dab against the capital one bowl with Florida playing Michigan, which likely took all but the more hardcore hockey viewers away.  Oh and if  you were curious about the result the Penguins won in an overtime shootout with Sidney Crosby their young star scoring the winning goal.

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