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NHL Winter Classic

Winter Classic diary: Colton Parayko

Blues defenseman chronicles experience of winning outdoors in final installment

by Colton Parayko / Special to

St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko is keeping a diary of his experiences at the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Blues defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 at Busch Stadium on Monday.

In his final installment, Parayko talks about how amazing game day was, from start to finish, and thanks those that helped make it that way for him and the rest of the Blues.

ST. LOUIS -- Today was amazing. Walking out to the ice for warmups was pretty cool. All of a sudden, the stands are full and everyone is cheering and on your side. It's really cool, but tough to describe. It's one of those things you just try to take in. We walked out of the dugout to fireworks and fire on the sides of us going up into the sky. It was amazing to play a hockey game in front of all these people at Busch Stadium.

My first shift was tough, that's for sure, when Michal Kempny scored with a shot from the point. You're so excited to get the game started and then that. I think the fun part about it was that we bounced back and took it to them a bit. Outdoor rink, it was raining all morning, all afternoon and the guy took a shot and it was like a two-hopper, bar-down top shelf. It's one of those things you can't do too much about.

With the start of the game I think we were taking it all in and almost in awe of it all. Soon as it started rolling, it got better and better, and we had a pretty good game from there. We didn't know what was going to happen with the weather, but you have to prepare for the conditions. It was a little rainy at the beginning but as the game went on I thought the weather was great. We had good ice and it was fun.

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The crowd was great, I can't thank them enough. They really made it so much fun out there.

When Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals in the third period to give us the lead, it was amazing. That's what that guy does, score goals. He's amazing to watch. He's a pure goal-scorer. He's so much fun to watch; he probably has one of the best shots I have ever seen. It's no surprise because he is that kind of player.

During some of the TV timeouts and later in the game, I caught myself looking around trying to take it all in. It's pretty surreal. It was pretty cool that we were able to be a part of something like this. Fifty years of Blues hockey and I am really fortunate to be a part of the team that gets to do this.

There will be so many memories when I think back about this, starting from walking out to the rink with the fireworks, the anthem was really good and all of a sudden you get out there. It was great when we scored our first goal. I was on the ice for that goal. Those are the things you will always remember. Then, the crowd. They were awesome.

We wanted to keep playing, didn't want this to end. We could have played another three periods. At the same time, it was an event that you want to make it work out and we did. It was such a special event. The Blues have been playing for 50 years and it is the first time we got to play outdoors so you want to make the most of it. Everyone helped make that happen, whether it was the guys making the ice or putting the rooms together or the equipment guys. Everyone did a really good job and it went pretty smoothly for us. I can't say thanks enough to everyone who had a hand in making it that way, especially the people at Busch Stadium and the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball.

Thanks to the fans as well, they were great. Thanks to you guys for reading too.

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