From the Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 edition of the MSU Reporter.
Back to the roots of where the game got its start, playing hockey on a frozen pond. Well, not exactly a pond, but outdoor hockey games have become an annual event around the country for teams from the youth level all the way to the NHL with the Winter Classic. It’s an exciting event that is mostly for the experience more than anything. The way a regulation sized hockey rink fits into a football stadium leaves spectators much farther away from the action than they are used to inside a standard arena. Also, past outdoor games have shown that weather conditions can make for poor ice conditions and alter the game speed a bit, but it’s not about that. It’s about the players enjoying the experience of an outdoor game in front of more fans than there are people in Mankato, and for the fans to enjoy an event that only happens a couple times a year, and has yet to take place in Minnesota.
Now one of the most exciting events in the game of hockey will now include a team from MSU. The Maverick women’s hockey team will play outdoors at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium in the 2014 Hockey City Classic. The Mavericks will face-off against the University of Minnesota women’s team at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 before the headlining Gopher Men’s Hockey game versus Big Ten rival Ohio State at 8 p.m. The Mavericks will conclude the two-game series on Jan. 19 at All Seasons Arena in Mankato. The Hockey City Classic is an incredibly exciting event being played at a great venue.
TCF Bank Stadium seats 50,508 seats, not including standing room. While that seems like more than enough seating for a hockey game, last year’s attendance eclipsed this number. The 2013 Hockey City Classic featured a double-header that included Miami-Ohio against Notre Dame and Minnesota against Wisconsin and drew 52,051 fans at Soldier Field in Chicago. Those four teams are some of the biggest names in men’s college hockey and that is an incredible crowd, yet it seems likely this year’s event could see a sellout crowd for many reasons.
Last year’s Hockey City Classic was played in Chicago, a neutral location to all of the schools participating. While many fans drove to Soldier Field to take in the event, many simply watched the games on television. This year’s Hockey City Classic features two games with the host school participating. The Gopher women’s team has won the last two National Championships, including an undefeated season in 2012-2013, and the Men’s team is a team that is constantly on everyone’s radar. University of Minnesota students and fans alone will most definitely bring a crowd larger than the capacity of Mankato’s Verizon Wireless Center, home to the Maverick men’s hockey team. Factor in all of the colleges in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, whose students will want to see this event, and also the fact that this game is being played in Minnesota, the state of hockey. The turnout should be incredible and make for an unbelievable experience for both the players and the fans.
Aside from the college hockey double header, the Hockey City Classic will include events for fans to use the ice, and for youth teams to play as well, over the course of the weekend. Tickets for the double header will go on sale to the public on Oct. 22 and start at $15 per ticket, which are good for both games; a pretty good deal for an event of this magnitude.
The Maverick women open the 2013-2014 campaign at home on Sept. 27 in a two-game series against Mercyhurst at All Seasons Arena before beginning conference play at the University of Wisconsin on Oct. 4.