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Friday, 02.01.2008 / 9:00 AM / Ice Age

By Phil Coffey - NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

The great Irish tenor Ronan Tynan kicked off the Winter Classic festivities with a powerful rendition of God Bless America that should not be forgotten.
Yes, the Winter Classic is now a month in the rear-view mirror, but Ice Age is still digging out from the mountains of e-mail that have come this way regarding playing NHL hockey outdoors.

So, here we go!

***

I traveled from Iowa with my wife to cheer on our Pens and will never forget that game. But if it happens every year it will lose some of its magic. It should be held once every four years with the winning team having the option to play in the next game. Make it a championship within the season.

-- Carrie and Greg

***

I thought it was a fantastic setting for a hockey game. I hope it could become a more of an annual event. The only thing that bothered me about the game in Buffalo is why our national anthem was not played, but Canada's anthem was. I did not realize Buffalo was a province of Canada. If the next game is played in Canada I hope they return the favor and play ours and not theres. If the U.S. anthem was sung, why wasn't it broadcast?

-- Brian Henestofel

***

The Winter Classic was amazing! I'm a Blackhawks fan living in Boston, and I didn't want this game to end! It was just great to watch. I would love to see it at Fenway (maybe Bruins, Hawks?) I would also like to say that I thought it was real classy to perform the Canadian national anthem, but was surprised that the American national anthem was not performed... that's a major "ooppps". I don't know what happened there, but the game itself was amazing.

-- Sharon Koogler

Phil Coffey
Phil Coffey is NHL.com's editorial director. He has covered the NHL since 1981.
Ask Ice Age:

Got a question? Nursing a gripe? Itching to call Phil Coffey every name imaginable? Well, you can achieve all these goals through the magic of email. Send your questions, comments and critiques of Phil's photo to iceage@nhl.com and look for the answers in the mailbag section of Ice Age each weekend.

Let me just interject a thought here. When the Philadelphia Flyers play Kate Smith’s rendition of God Bless America, it is not followed by the Star-Spangled Banner and there are no complaints because it is about as rousing a song as you will hear. In Buffalo, you had the great Ronan Tynan singing his signature version of God Bless America. Also before he sang, he gave as wonderful a tribute to American troops as you could hope to find. Criticism here is just off base.

***

While I'm a HUGE Montreal Canadiens fan and would LOVE to see the next outdoor game in Montreal, I believe New York is the ideal location. Either Yankee Stadium or Central Park; please don't put it in the Meadowlands though! What an experience it would be for all hockey fans to have it in scenic Central Park or historic Yankee Stadium! I suggest the Rangers play the Bruins, Flyers, Leafs or Canadiens. I can't wait for it and I hope the NHL makes it an annual event with different locations and teams.

-- David Stephenson

***

The next Winter Classic should be held in Calgary, between the Flames and an American team, such as Tampa Bay or Atlanta. The Calgary hockey market is huge, it has the resources (the football stadium for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders) and weather to support such an excursion, and it would appeal to both Canadian and American fans, seeing teams from their respective countries. It would also showcase the league’s top players in Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, and/or Ilya Kovalchuk. Calgary would be a great place to hold the Classic.

Another place would be Vancouver with the Canucks, but winter usually brings rain and/or unpredictable weather conditions, so it’s a shaky choice. BC Place Stadium, the home of the CFL’s BC Lions, is an ideal place for a hockey game. If the weather held up, it’d be an ideal facility, and of course it’d be hyped-up, with Vancouver a flourishing hockey market.

These are just a few suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read them.

-- Adam P.

***

Fenway Park, The place is a landmark, get the Bruins and the Habs wearing some 1900s uniforms, it would attract millions.

-- Max Willwerth

***

Hold it in Buffalo again. If not, you need to pick a good cold weather location; Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota.

-- Bernard Brothman

***

The next Winter Classic should definitely be at Beaver Stadium in State College, PA. It would be great to see a game with over 100,000 people. Flyers vs. Penguins would easily sell that stadium out.

-- Matt Ramsden

***

The Montreal Canadiens vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs would be a great outdoor game matchup.

Hello there. I know this may not even get looked at and I'm just one fan, but I believe that the 2009 Winter Classic, if there is one, which I think all fans are fully expecting after the success in Buffalo, should be played in Toronto at the Rogers Center between Toronto and Montreal. Even though this will be Montreal's second appearance in an outdoor game, that was a long time ago with different players and this is one of the most ancient rivalries in the NHL and would really attract a lot of fans and Rogers Center is quite big compared to that of other CFL stadiums, but this thing needs to be Canadian bound.

If this is a ploy to get the U.S market into hockey my first choice would be Chicago and Detroit and in either city maybe Hockeytown USA would be better though. Anyways here's a hockey fan really hoping this goes through because I was a real fan of this year's Winter Classic and would truly like to see it again.

-- Monte Smith

***

I would like to see the Anaheim Ducks visit New York Rangers and play the game New Year’s Day at 8 p.m. EST at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York City.

Broadcast with a national network, presumably NBC ...what a marketing and advertising coup.

After the Rose Bowl game on January 1st, college football viewership is marginal at best for the Sugar Bowl. Also, you need the West Coast market and 8 p.m. ET is good. Starting the game at 1 p.m. ET is no good for West Coast viewership, as the West coasters are tuned into the Rose Bowl parade and game that follows.

-- Peter Gabriel

***

I would like to see the next Winter Classic played at Giants Stadium between the Rangers and the Devils. The Rangers could wear their white statue of liberty jerseys and the Devils could wear their Christmas tree jerseys. I think this could benefit and help to grow the popularity of hockey in this area. It's a long shot but hey, I can dream can't I?

-- Patrick D’Amico

***

I think the next NHL Winter Classic should be held between the Rangers and Boston Bruins at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the U.S. Tennis Accociation complex in Flushing Meadow N.Y. because it's a cold winter climate they can accommodate a large crowd who can sit closer to the action than Buffalo. An Original 6 rivalry in retro jerseys will just be the icing on the cake.

-- Kurt in NYC

***

Hi. My name’s Marco Lüdi. I’m 15-years-old and I’m from Bern, Switzerland. That was amazing. We had last season an open-air game too, in Bern. Best wishes.

***

I would like to see the Flames and Oilers play a Battle of Alberta outdoors.

-- Andrew Zwarich

***

The NFL has its Thanksgiving tradition and it has been good for many years, the NHL should make this a New Year’s tradition and keep it in Buffalo, maybe have two games, an East game at 1 p.m. (Buffalo & Pens) and a West game following the end of the East game (OUTDOORS).

-- Lee Garrison

***

Next classic should be in New York with Islanders vs. Rangers or Montreal with Canadians vs Toronto or Boston.

-- Robert C. Judd

***

I loved the Winter Classic. I think that next year it should be Avs and Wings at Invesco Field in Denver or at the Big House at the University of Michigan. My favorite team is the Lightning, but I don’t think it would be the same in 80 degree weather playing at Raymond James in Tampa!!

-- Scott Kussy

***

We made quite a festival out of the event. Being on the West Coast, we invited friends in for New Year’s Day Brunch and a remarkable game. We were not one bit disappointed!

I personally don’t know if regular-season games should be played this way, but having watched the game in Edmonton and now, the game in Buffalo, I definitely believe the outdoor game should be a somewhat regular feature of the NHL season. We talked it over here and would like to see the All-Star Game outdoors. Let’s face it, that game has no serious side so stoppages for ice conditions wouldn’t really matter, nor would snow and rain and wind conditions. Granted that the super-skills competition would need to be indoors, the All-Star Game itself could easily be outdoors. At the very least when it is played in cold-weather areas.

-- M. Evans, San Jose

***

I loved the Winter Classic and hope to see more in the future. I would love to see a Battle of Alberta Winter Classic held in Calgary or wherever. That would be so totally awesome!!!! I would even go for Calgary vs. Vancouver Winter Classic. Jarome and BobbyLu going head to head. That would be sweet!!!!

-- Angela

***

Great idea, but let’s do Original 6 teams only. When in Boston, good, ol’ Fenway Park would be great.

-- Tom Dawson

***

Take the game around the world. Can you imagine an outdoor game say in the largest population bases in the world. It can happen, picture a crowd in excess of 500,000.

-- Alice Day

One Ice Age reader suggested the NHL should open up the roof at Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena and stage an outdoor game there in the year before the Penguins move to their new Arena.

***

In the final year before Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh gets the boot, you should either hold the Winter Classic or the NHL All-Star Game there, and open the roof, and do an indoor outdoor game. I think it would be another great experience for NHL fans, and give the Mellon Arena one last push before the Penguins new arena opens.

-- Jeff Hernandez

***

Why not make the Winter Classic a massive event and merge it with the All-Star Game?

This might require the All-Star Game to be held a tad early, but I can’t help thinking it would be an awesome showcase and a PR coup for the NHL.

-- Jason Bobbitt, Liecester UK

***

I think it would be a good idea to take the outdoor game south. Nashville, for years, had an ice rink outdoors by what is now the football stadium, it is very possible to do it again, and it would get a lot of response.

-- Vincent Syler

***

I was at the Winter Classic in Buffalo and I absolutely loved every moment of it. I want to thank the NHL for creating such a thrilling atmosphere, and it was great with Crosby having the winning shootout goal. Traveling almost four hours from Pittsburgh without knowing what to expect, and then actually being there it was completely amazing and I would love to go to another one.

Since I'm a huge Penguin fan, I of course would want the Penguins to play in another one, which I know is selfish, but I think Crosby needs to be in every Winter Classic! I think the Flyers vs. Penguins in Beaver Stadium in PA, is a great idea for the next Winter Classic. Over 100,000 Penn State fans pack the stadium and I think it would be great to have that many hockey fans in a stadium. Anyway I know there are a lot more teams in the NHL, but I really do think the Flyers vs. Penguins at Beaver Stadium would be a great matchup with the rivalry and all. Thanks again for the 2008 Winter Classic.

-- Nicole H.

***

Hey there Phil. I was looking for a Web site that breaks down the stats for the top rookies for the 07/08 season. I couldn’t find it on the nhl.com page. Do you know where i can find this?

-- Havok

Sure do. Click on the Stats headline at the top of the homepage. That takes you to our stats home page. The first box on the right has pull-down menus that will let you look at all the rookie stats.

 



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