No one can deny the popularity of the Winter Classic, the NHL’s annual New Year’s Day outdoor game. Take every greeting card cliché they use in the commercials, back to the game’s roots, the guys all remember being boys outside on the pond. For me personally I never had an opportunity to play hockey but as a spectator I love outdoor games, personally I watched every second of coverage I could for the game this year. The Winter Classic has brought tremendous publicity to the NHL and has been successful at attracting the “Non-Hockey Fans” that the NHL covets so much.
It’s no secret that the Dallas Stars are struggling in attendance, they are by no means the worst in the league in this category, however they do end up with a lot of empty seats on any given night. My proposal? Bring the Winter Classic to Dallas! The Dallas Stars certainly don’t have the Pens/Caps popularity of this season’s classic so I’m not sure it could hold up as the marquee game, but there was talk of having a Winter Classic double-header and that is where the Stars could fit in. Plus with the Snowmageddon that we had this week it isn’t that outlandish of an idea.
Who would play the Stars in a Winter Classic? On first thought a Stars/Red Wings game would draw viewers and has been a good rivalry in the past. (Detroit fans could argue the game should be in Detroit.) We could go with a Stars/Ducks or a Stars/Kings match-up as a division rival would add some intrigue to the game. Plus the Kings have a good fan base as well that would travel. Then there is Canada, any of the Canadian teams could be a good draw and we could get interest from our northern neighbors. After the brawl in Boston this week we could stir up the once a year rivalry pot and get the B’s to come to Texas.
It’s Texas! How could you handle doing an outdoor game in Texas? The NHL has proved they can do an outdoor game anywhere; remember the Kings Preseason game in the 90’s in the Las Vegas heat? Texas weather is unpredictable but the Dallas/Fort Worth area generally (this week excluded) has good weather and plenty of accommodation options for traveling fans, we have made ourselves a top five or ten city in the US.
I have three options for a location of the North Texas Winter Classic. (I am excluding Cowboys Stadium as it’s technically a domed stadium and even if the roof is open it won’t have the magic of a true outdoor game.
The Cotton Bowl:
This would be my first choice for a location; it’s a piece of Dallas history and has been a part of many iconic sports moments. The capacity is the best draw here it can hold at max 92,100 people. Also it’s not a NFL stadium so the league wouldn’t have to coordinate with the NFL. It’s located on the Texas State fairgrounds and has opportunity to stir up quite a bit of local revenue. The bleachers aren’t the most comfortable but I doubt most would complain. Interesting fact, the band Aerosmith recorded their first live album here in the 80’s.
The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington:
Twice before they have had the outdoor game in a MLB Ballpark and we have an excellent ballpark in Arlington. Max capacity here is 52,419 with standing room. It’s located centrally between Dallas and Fort Worth and would be another excellent option.
Pizza Hut Park – Frisco:
This is a MLS Soccer arena north of Dallas, it seats 21,193 so it probably isn’t a site the league would consider. It’s a great venue and the city of Frisco would be a great host.
The coverage is just what the Stars need, imagine 24/7 following our boys around town. A little national coverage would go a long way. Be honest…we all want to see our Stars unfiltered on HBO, Steve Ott uncensored could be epic.
What do you think?
January 1st 2012 the 2012 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl:
Boston Bruins versus the Dallas Stars
I’d be the first in line to get tickets.
- Jonathan Collander
* Follow me on Twitter @RangerDanger85
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