Why Soldier Field Should Host an NHL Winter Classic

Hockey City Classic

 

Over the weekend Solider Field made history as it hosted it's first ever outdoor hockey game. The Hockey City Classic showcased four of the NCAA's top hockey programs.

I was in the press box and witnessed it first hand. Total attendance for the event was 52,051, not bad for a venue that seats 60,000.

Both games were entertaining, hard hitting, full of energy, and had some decent scoring. Eight total goals were scored between the two games.

Wayne Messmer sang the national anthem, new Air Force recruits were sworn in during one of the intermissions, and Chicago got to witness first hand the passion and enthusiasm that revolves around college hockey.

If the NCAA can get this much effort out of their product, imagine what the Blackhawks could do if they were to ever play along the Lakefront.

When the NHL Winter Classic came to Chicago in 2009, it was not held inside the legendary columns as many had hoped. Instead it was played at Wrigley Field on the North Side.

While Wrigley is an historic venue in it's own right, and it has tourist attractions,  there were a few complaints about the 09' Classic.

For starters, the ice rink was set on an somewhat of an angle which made a difficult view for certain sections of the stadium:

800px-2009_Winter_Classic

 

There were also the complaints from White Sox fans who attended the game for obvious reasons. Then there was the issue of a lack of parking spaces along with the fact that Wrigley Field has had the lowest attendance of all of the Winter Classics that have taken place.

Wrigley's capacity is roughly 41,000 compared to the 60,00o that Soldier Field can hold. That is the main reason why the next Chicago Winter Classic should be at Soldier Field.

Another reason is the fact that Soldier Field has plenty of parking. Stadium parking can be costly, but the nearby garages and remote lots with shuttle buses are a cheaper alternative. Wrigley Field does not have these options.

Of course there are people who would like to see the game played at U.S. Cellular Field on 35th Street. Yes it does have parking {probably cheaper than Soldier Field}, but views and sight lines would be an issue.

Capacity would also be a problem as The Cell only seats 40,000. Soldier Field would be neutral territory and very friendly for both Cubs and Sox fans.

Solider Field has proven itself worthy, and I think the NHL should consider the 89-year-old venue for the 2015 NHL Winter Classic.

Tomorrow at 1:30PM I will be once again joining the "Cooley and Chivari" show on http://sportstownchicago.com/home.cfm

We will be talking about the Hockey City Classic and some college basketball. You can follow them on Twitter @cooleychivari

 

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