More outdoor hockey please. Such is the plan of the NHL after the success of last season’s Pittsburgh Penguins/Buffalo Sabres outdoor game on New Year’s Day. The event proved to be one of the more popular ideas put on by the NHL since their return from their self-imposed near-death sentence, if not before.
Naturally, Gary Betman and company want to capitalize on NHL’s version of the Ice Bowl and feature more outdoor shenanigans. This time the players are Wrigley Field, the Chicago Blackhawks and the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Detroit Red Wings. While the crowd for the second American NHL Ice Bowl probably won’t surpass Ralph Wilson’s almost-72,000 from last year, you can expect the Chicago/Wrigley Field faithful to be out in absolute force.
It should also be noted Wrigley can hold 41,000-plus Cubs fans and will, in all likelihood, be expanded for the NHL. While I’ve never claimed to be a hockey expert, more outdoor hockey can only be a good thing for the NHL. I watched a little bit of the Pens/Sabres game and you could tell the crowd was having a blast. Any time the fan experience is improved, especially for a sport that’s trying to regain a status it once had, it has to be deemed a good idea.