Okay, so not really pond hockey, but close. There were two games played outside on Sunday in Chicago. Minnesota got the late game with Wisconsin, Minnesota losing 2-3.
I’m pretty sure the hype of the game is better than the game itself. Two things immediately jumped out at me; the crowd and the ice. With the crowd being relegated to the stands at Soldier Field, there was no fan element on the boards. And that surprisingly made a difference to the flavor of the game. I’ve always said that there is no better game in pro sports that play-off NHL hockey. A close second is college hockey. And to lose the fan element is not worth the game.
Second, the ice made a remarkable difference; that may have been the point. It was messy and slushy and in the first game, almost unplayable. I joke when the weather gets down to 25 here in Carolina that it’s “too hot to play hockey.” And it is. The ice is simply too soft, turns into a snow cone mess and turns the game from hockey into something else.
I was annoyed that we lost but was even more annoyed that a great rivalry game was taken away from the fans and a gimmick game took away from normal quality conditions.
One last thing, they kept talking about the cold. The players had extra gear on, the Badgers had Packer’s cold weather jackets and even the benches had warm air blowing on ’em with feet heaters on the floor boards.
It was 26-28 freakin’ degrees!
Back when I played hockey we were in sleeves, no coats, at 10 and some of us took off our sweaters at 15. Zero was cold but not painfully. Not until negative numbers did we need the warming house. I was gonna crack on the players for not knowing this, but then I realized that these kids have probably been playing advanced organized hockey all their lives. Which means regulated indoor rinks with glass ice. I’m not sure how many of them ever played night hockey on a frozen sheet of water subject to wind, snow and the cycle of afternoon melt and night freeze.
Anyway, fun to watch college hockey for a change.