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SeattleKraken

Outdoor games & Winter Classic venues

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I'm curious about the fan's overall perspective on outdoor game events, and where that program might be headed in the future. I've read opinions in other threads on how it relates to the current NHL leadership, but I'm more curious to know about the outdoor venues and why the NHL has chosen certain locations over others....and what that meant for the fan experience, if anyone on this site has attended any of these games.

I watched the Sabers/Rangers game on New Years Day, which looked cold as hell, but couldn't help but be fascinated by my perceived pros and cons at the Citi Field setup....on the surface, outdoor games sound like a good idea because they're probably making NHL games accessible to fans who may not otherwise attend....but judging by the layout, it appears the distance from the action diminishes the fan experience....or maybe it's just a different type of fan experience with different expectations going into it. While making the games more accessible seems well-intended, I couldn't help but think that there may be fans leaving those outdoor games with a somewhat negative impression that's a misrepresentation of the typical indoor arena experience.

I've noticed that outdoor games are played in mostly baseball stadiums (versus football venues)....is there a preference between the two and a big difference in the fan experience? With the specter of the NHL coming to Seattle, I can't help but anticipate the idea of an outdoor game at Safeco Field or the Seahawks stadium, but having no firsthand experience I can't tell which would be the preferred venue....or if the league focuses on these games taking place mainly in the cold weather Northeast due to the concentration of teams there and more showcasing opportunities as a result. Any firsthand impressions on these games or thoughts on the where's & why's of venue type and city location, and where the league might be headed with all of this? 

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The Winter Classic has become a New Year's Day tradition in our house. As for the attendees, it is more about the event and spectacle than the game itself.

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One thing I do not like is that spectators are usually pretty far away and probably can not see much. But I get the tradition and other activities that take place during those games.

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I went to the second Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. I couldn't feel my feet, it got worse as I drank more, and I could hardly see the game from my seat in the bleachers.

That said, the environment and whole spectacle was a lot of fun, especially in Wrigleyville. It's not something I will soon forget.

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I went to Avs-Wings at Coors Field. Prices were steeper that they should’ve been bc you had to buy the package that included the alumni game the night before.  2x parking, beers, time getting there, etc.  Atmosphere was just fair and the game seemed secondary to the event, if that makes sense. 

A couple days days later I skated a drop in on a sunny afternoon. That was much cooler for me. I also picked up some of the “game-used” snow from the infield.

Some Puck Daddy writer wrote a while ago that the gimmick should be retired and I agree. There’s just too many outdoor games now and it feels like it’s usually the same teams. Let each team host one then put it to bed for awhile so we can miss it. 

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The problem is that there's only so many teams that can actually host a game. I'm not expecting to see an outdoor game in Tampa. 

I'm also not surprised by the league leaning towards games featuring original six teams. 

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30 minutes ago, IPv6Freely said:

The problem is that there's only so many teams that can actually host a game. I'm not expecting to see an outdoor game in Tampa. 

I'm also not surprised by the league leaning towards games featuring original six teams. 

It could be done. They hosted at Dodger Stadium. 

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44 minutes ago, yrhmblnr8r said:

It could be done. They hosted at Dodger Stadium. 

I thought I recalled that happening a few years ago, in a Kings/Ducks game. Perhaps that was just a one-off and they won't do it again in sun belt states....I don't know how hard it is for them to control the ice for a planned outdoor event, should the weather decide to go unseasonably warm or something. I'm assuming outdoor events in northern cities present less challenges in maintaining the ice, but I don't know much about the technology they're working with to establish the playing surface.

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Also went to the big house game. It was cool and all, but super poorly planned, mostly due to the nightmare of that many commuters getting to the big house in poor weather conditions. That said I liked the game portion of the experience, but actually preferred the alumni game at comerica overall 

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To be honest if I was going to one of these I would actually prefer the weather to be a disaster, like it was in Buffalo at the World Juniors. The snow made for a crap TV experience but it was a factor that I think I'd really enjoy if I was there. I mean, all of that is assuming I'm properly dressed for it of course.

That said, my statement really only applies if I live in the city where the event is taking place. Definitely not want to have to drive through such a mess to get there. 

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4 hours ago, adam14 said:

I went to the one at the big house. you're not attending to watch the game, you're paying for everything else.

Just looked this up, and found a ranking of attendance figures for outdoor hockey games. More games take place in football stadiums than I would have imagined, with a recent one last year at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_hockey_games_with_highest_attendance

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Howdy,

I like the winter classic and the idea of New Year's being for outdoor hockey, but to me it has to be more about the event than the hockey.  You're so far away from the actual game.

More than one a year though, and I think it loses the novelty and the compromises show more.

Mark

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