With the Winter Classic that the NHL holds traditionally on New Years day being an annual success, more and more outdoor hockey games are popping up around the country.
The University of Wisconsin has been a part of two of these events, hosting a game at Lambeau Field in 2006 in which 40,890 people saw the Badgers defeat Ohio State 4-2. A few years later 55,031 people watched the Badgers defeat Michigan 3-2 at Camp Randall Stadium. Both seasons saw the Badgers advance to the National Championship game.
Wisconsin is once again looking to be a part of an outdoor event.
Andy Baggot from the Wisconsin State Journal reported via twitter Friday night that the University of Wisconsin athletic department is in talks with the University of Minnesota athletic department on playing an outdoor game in Chicago in February of 2013 at Soldier Field.
Baggot released more information later Friday night. A few of the important notes include:
-The game would take place February 16, 2013.
-There could be a double header including a game that features Notre Dame and Miami. Both teams are currently in the CCHA, but Notre Dame will be moving to Hockey East after the 2013 season and Miami will be moving to the new NCHC after the 2013 season.
Both schools would be geographical fits for an outdoor game played in Chicago, especially obviously Notre Dame.
-Eaves is "absolutely" intrigued by the idea according to Baggot.
-The game between Wisconsin and Minnesota would be a conference game, and therefore take away a home game vs the Gophers at the Kohl Center. In that case, the Badgers would have to be guaranteed at least a $200,000 payday to make it worthwhile.
Additionally, with league series being two games each, the teams would have to play on Thursday night at the Kohl Center, with a day off before the proposed Saturday event at Soldier Field.
Is this a good idea for Wisconsin?
Absolutely. Especially if they can lock in Minnesota.
Two of the most prominent recruits that the Badgers have landed in the past few years came when Wisconsin hosted the Camp Randall game. Wisconsin brought in Nic Kerdiles who is projected to be a first round draft pick this summer along with current starting goaltender Joel Rumpel on that weekend. Both were left in awe, and committed within 24 hours of their visits.
Eaves has noted in the media on multiple occasions that the Badgers would be interested in playing an outdoor game once every four seasons or so. There were four years between Lambeau and Camp Randall, and that worked out well. It wasn't the sell out that UW athletics wanted, but that probably had more to do with the pricing and lack of advertising than anything.
In my opinion this is a no brainer for the Badgers. Sure, you don't want to be risking home ice games, especially against the Gophers on an outdoor game but this is simply too good to pass up.
Make it happen Barry.
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