Tuesday, July 22, 2008

NHL Preparing Chicago For Winter Classic

Something like this 2 years ago would be considered unimaginable under the previous Blackhawk ownership regime. But the city of Chicago had been rewarded with hockey's latest spectacle, leaving the NHL to sell it to the fans and the networks for news coverage.
“The Chicago Cubs are honored for Wrigley Field to be the first baseball venue to host a National League Hockey game,” said Crane Kenney, Chairman of the Cubs. “We thank all of those involved for helping make New Year’s Day at the Friendly Confines a reality, including Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, our Alderman Tom Tunney, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, and the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings organizations.”
Last year's game was special as I had deep rooting interest since my hometown team was participating in it. The NHL and media will have to make a bigger effort this year to get me to stay attentive to this event.

First of all, the game will not be played in a football stadium like last year's Ralph Wilson stadium or Commonwealth Stadium years before. The natural oval shape of football stadiums make for great viewing, but the baseball field leaves plenty of unused surface area unsused. I had the same concerns back when the WWE hosted Wrestlemania 19 in Safeco Field in Seattle. The camera panning over the crowds made unusual angles.

I wish this next game will provide more Chicago fans back the the NHL game now with the promise of a future for this once proud "Original Six" city.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley added, “Chicago is widely known as the best sports town in the country. That’s why we are delighted that the National Hockey League has selected Chicago for its NHL Winter Classic 2009. We look forward to hosting the Detroit Red Wings in historic Wrigley Field and cheering the Chicago Blackhawks to victory.”
This is a historic 701st meeting vs these two oldest NHL teams. You would think this would be a very well-known rivalry, but in my opinion it is shadowed by the likes of Toronto/Montreal, Colorado/Detroit, and Calgary/Edmonton.

As long as the NHL can continue promote the game's storyline, perhaps even building some drama through media headlines, then I see this as another continued success for the league and their search for signs for more improved TV ratings.

With the promise of more news TBA-ed, I wonder if they again plan to use throwback jerseys during the game?

[Via: NHL.com]
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