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Maple Leafs' D'Amigo guaranteed outdoor game

by Tal Pinchevsky

NEW YORK -- Recent American Hockey League call-up Jerry D'Amigo doesn't know how long he'll stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 22-year-old wing has two points in 10 games since his arrival from the Toronto Marlies on Dec. 5 and is hoping to secure his spot on the roster.

But regardless of whether he is sent down following the end of the holiday roster freeze, he's guaranteed to have an eventful holiday. Not only will the Maple Leafs be playing against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1 in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but the Marlies will face off against Detroit's AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, at Comerica Park in Detroit on Dec. 30.

"If I get sent down, either here or there I'm going to have an outdoor game," D'Amigo said. "I think it will be pretty cool. Hopefully it's not too cold of a day out there."

D'Amigo would prefer to stick around long enough to compete on Jan. 1 at the Big House. But whichever outdoor game he plays in, he'll be bringing some valuable outdoor experience with him. D'Amigo played for the Marlies on Jan. 21, 2012 in the American Hockey League Outdoor Classic against the Hamilton Bulldogs at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario.

In front of 20,565 fans, D'Amigo starred for the Marlies, collecting three assists and being named the game's third star in a 7-2 rout of the Bulldogs. It's an experience he looks back fondly on, but admits the weather conditions were less than ideal.

"Really bad ice. It was a sunny day and the ice got really chippy along the boards because the ice was melting. But it actually turned out pretty good. The fans were going crazy. It was a good experience for everybody," D'Amigo said. "It was definitely a great experience. You never know when you're going to play in an outdoor game. So you definitely want to make the most of it when you play."

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