Wednesday, January 02, 2008
On Frozen Pond
While there were bowl games all over the tube on New Year’s Day, NBC presented a treat. The NHL gave us the Amp Energy NHL Winter Classic. It was an outdoor hockey game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, between the Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was good stuff.
The game drew over 71,000 spectators in the cold, sleet, and snow of Buffalo, the largest crowd in the history of the NHL. It was great television. At times during the game, attendants had to go out onto the ice and clear freshly fallen snow and ice. Wind and cold were a factor in the game, just as in football. It was a throwback to when players were growing up playing on frozen ponds and backyards. Oh, yeah, Pittsburgh won the game, 3-2 in a shootout. The NHL's new phenom Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal for the Penguins.
The NHL needs things like this to put it back on the map in this country. Outdoor games won’t work all the time, but one game a year, presented as a big event, would be great for the sport.