The NHL Heritage Classic was staged at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium on November 22, 2003. In the first-ever regular season NHL game to be played outdoors, the Montreal Canadiens
defeated the hometown Oilers 4-3 in front of a crowd of 57,167. Temperatures during the later part of the game dropped below zero. "Every guy in here knows how special this moment is," said then-Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray
. "It's something that we can look back on at the end of our careers and be proud that we were a part of." Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff
added, "Walking out there for the first time was pretty amazing. Looking in the stands and seeing that many people, was such a big thrill, something that will probably never happen again."
December 9, 2006
Team World vs. Russia
The Great Five of Soviet hockey (Igor Larionov
, Sergei Makarov
, Vladimir Krutov
, Vyacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov
) reunited to celebrate Russian hockey in an outdoor charity game against Team World in Red Square. About 2,000 spectators were on hand to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the birth of Russian hockey; the 50th anniversary of the former Soviet Union's first hockey victory at the Olympics and the 25th anniversary of the creation of the famous KLM line (Krutov, Larionov, Makarov) in the 1980s. Team World, coached by Scotty Bowman, included former NHL greats such as Paul Coffey
, Thomas Sandstrom, Jari Kurri
and brothers Peter and Anton Stastny
. The first-ever hockey game played in Red Square finished in a 10-10 tie.
Frozen Tundra Classic
Green Bay, Wisconsin
February 11, 2006
Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
The home of the Green Bay Packers was transformed to host the Frozen Tundra Classic in front of a capacity crowd of 40,890 spectators. The construction of the rink required a grid system of 32 miles of tubing to circulate 2,200 gallons of antifreeze solution, all to keep the ice at 10 degrees. 17,000 gallons of water, cooled by a 300-ton refrigeration system, was also used to create a four-inch thick ice surface under the lights of Lambeau Field. When the puck dropped between the Buckeyes and Badgers, it was a "balmy" 26 degrees. Wisconsin treated their fans to a 4-2 victory and in classic Bob Johnson
style; the Badgers proved that every day is a “great day for hockey.”
The "Cold War"
East Lansing, Michigan
October 6, 2001
Michigan vs. Michigan State
The University of Michigan Wolverines kicked off the regular season against the Michigan State Spartans on an outdoor rink in front of the largest ever live audience for a hockey game. The record crowd of 74,554 braved below freezing conditions to watch the long-time rivals battle to a 3-3 tie. The game featured a ceremonial face-off by Hall of Famer Gordie Howe
. Michigan was paced by the two goals of current Los Angeles Kings
’ forward Mike Cammalleri
, but ultimately it was the play of now Buffalo Sabres
goaltender, Ryan Miller
, that allowed the number one ranked Michigan State Spartans to secure a tie. “I thought I’d seen everything in hockey,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson
said after the game. “This couldn’t have turned out better. I think it’s pretty obvious that (playing outdoors) is something people are going to look at in the future for their big games.”
The Las Vegas strip provided the background for the first ever NHL exhibition game to be held outdoors. The Kings and the Rangers battled under the lights outside Caesars Palace in mid-80 degree temperatures. The game drew a crowd of 13,000, most of whom wore shorts and t-shirts to take it all in. "We were a little bit in awe and I'm sure (the Rangers) were, too," said the Kings' Wayne Gretzky
about the outdoor game. "We kept looking at each other and couldn't believe we were playing hockey in 80-degree weather. But it was real nice."