A Look At The Hockey City Classic In Chicago

In 2001, the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans played the first-ever cold weather, outdoor hockey game at Spartan Stadium, in East Lansing, Michigan. The trailblazing contest was dubbed the “Cold War.” Since then, it has become a fashionable trend for college and NHL hockey teams to play an outdoor game at a football or baseball venue.

The NHL holds its “Winter Classic” every New Years Day (except in seasons with work stoppages). Famous locales like Chicago's Wrigley Field and Boston's Fenway Park are among the many sites to have hosted the event. College hockey tends to hold several outdoor games a year, with arguably the most famous one taking place during December of 2010, when those very same Wolverines and Spartans played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Known as the “Big Chill at the Big House,” this in-state battle established an all-time attendance record for a hockey game, with 113,411 fans.

Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Wisconsin Badgers played in the feature game of the Hockey City Classic, at Chicago's Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. The day's first matchup involved Miami (Ohio) and Notre Dame. An announced crowd of 52,051 fans were on hand for the festivities.

Above is an iFolloSports.com contributor's photo, captured from his seat in the lower deck. With the temperature sitting at a brisk 28 degrees, the contributor noted that the flow and speed of the game was not good. Since the outdoor sheet of ice was brittle, the surface appeared to be very uneven and choppy. The contributor also stated that the sightlines were not the greatest, unless you sat high up. Unfortunately, sitting higher up would make the fan feel a little too far from the action.

It sounds like a unique experience to see a hockey game, outside in a football stadium. However, in the friend of iFolloSports.com's opinion, while the event is cool, the game itself may not be as good as the intimacy and views of a regular hockey arena.