Within the sea of blue and red in the stands at Michigan Stadium, a few fans donned both colors in support of another team.
About 20 Columbus Blue Jackets season ticket holders won the "trip of a lifetime"--tickets to attend the NHL's 2014 Bridgestone Winter Classic that showcased the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings in an outdoor arena. Two of these season ticket holders, Chuck Walz and Jason Storey, spent the day listening to live music, taking pictures around the arena, buying souvenirs, enjoying the game and taking in the overall atmosphere.
For Jason and Chuck, though their team did not participate in the game, they were excited to be part of the largest crowd in hockey history and came away from the event more appreciative of the sport with memories they'll never forget.
"There was so much history at the game with two Original Six teams that just as a hockey fan, you could feel the passion," said Jason Storey. "The atmosphere was incredible with over 100,000 fans. It was loud, it was snowing like crazy and it was awesome."
The best part of the day for Chuck was seeing several other Blue Jackets fans in attendance and showing off his passion for his team with other hockey fans.
"The most exciting thing was being able to see other people with Blue Jackets jerseys on," said Chuck. "I myself wore my Blue Jackets scarf. It was good to see our own city, state and team being represented, even at a game outside our city where our team wasn’t playing.”
For Jason, a longtime fan of the sport, this was one of the best hockey events he had ever been to and hopes that Blue Jackets fans will consider attending an outdoor game in the future if they have the opportunity, even if the Blue Jackets team is not participating.
“I kept my tickets really nice and I didn’t want them to get ruined," said Jason. "I bought a program and an official puck, and I’m going to get them framed as memorabilia, because it was an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience. As a hockey fan, I would definitely go again."
Chuck and Jason both agreed that they would love to go to an outdoor game again because it is the "best way to watch hockey."
"Everyone should experience hockey played in its natural environment," said Chuck. "That’s the way hockey should be experienced because that’s its history."