As the Gopher men’s hockey team prepares for the program’s first outdoor game scheduled for Sunday at Solider Field, athletic director Norwood Teague will likely be taking notes on the Hockey City Classic.
Teague told 1500 ESPN last week that the university is looking into hosting an outdoor hockey game at TCF Bank Stadium in the near future.
“It does not look like there are a lot of obstacles in the way of doing that…hopefully it will happen soon…there’s no reason not to,” said Teague to the local ESPN affiliate.
The freshman AD said he would like to see one held in Minnesota in the immediate future — “Maybe in two years.”
The Minnesota Wild fan base have been actively seeking a Winter Classic in the Twin Cities and even NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in October it would be crazy if the annual outdoor game isn’t held in Minnesota in the near future.
Teague wants the Wild to look into holding the Winter Classic (if the Wild are awarded the game) at the University of Minnesota football stadium even going as far as to suggest having as doubleheader with the Gophers.
The university will likely face competition from the Twins who want to see the Winter Classic held at Target Field, but as a fan, this is nothing but a win-win.
But without an official announcement of an outdoor game in the State of Hockey, fans can only dream. But as Bettman eloquently put, it would very “crazy” if Minnesota doesn’t get at least one outdoor hockey game within the next five years.
What better place is there to showcase outdoor hockey than Minnesota with two brand new stadiums making their plea to host the games? And considering hosting an outdoor game in a stadium would double if not triple the attendance of a traditional indoor arena, only a few cities in the country could really fill an entire stadium with devote hockey fans willing to sit through three periods in the cold.
While no one in Minnesota will be able to challenge the Big House’s outdoor hockey attendance record of 113,411 set in December of 2010 during a Michigan vs Michigan State game, a game in Minnesota would nevertheless be as perfect as the Rose Bowl being played in Pasadena every year.
Hell, if I had any say in awarding outdoors hockey games, I would let Minnesota host one a year (seriously though, why does Detroit get to host a Thanksgiving game every year?).
With outdoor hockey’s popularity on the rise, it would be a spit to the face if Minnesota doesn’t have an outdoor hockey game in the near future.