Friday, August 6, 2010

Let's Take It Outside

A long-awaited outdoor hockey game has finally been scheduled in Canada for the NHL. 8 years after the very first Heritage Classic was played in Edmonton by the Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens, the first nation of hockey can once again enjoy the thrill of watching an NHL game outdoors, not to mention the vicious wind and bitter cold that come along with Calgary's notorious winters.
That's right. The 2011 Heritage Classic will be held at Calgary's McMahon Stadium on February 20th, where the Montreal Canadiens get their second chance at the epic outdoor game, this time against the Calgary Flames.
There's no question that the city of Calgary is ecstatic to host the event, which originated in Canada and had been played every single year after its debut, just never in Canada. But many are questioning the timing and the teams involved.
It seems unfair to the hockey fans of Vancouver, Ottowa or Toronto that the Montreal Canadiens get a second crack at the Classic. And given the hype that usually comes with the game, people are wondering why the NHL didn't choose two teams with a more storied rivalry.
It would make more sense to pit the Flames against the Canucks, or the Canadiens against the Maple Leafs. And while the Flames are well-deserving of the honour of hosting the game, the winters in the city are among the worst in Canada. Fans in attendance will need to be prepared to sit in the stands for 2 hours in weather that could be well into the minus 30s.
Still, there is no shortage of excitement among Flames and Habs fans, and there is no doubt that even in the dead of winter, the streets of Calgary will be packed with a party come February 20th.

The Montreal Canadiens' Josh Gorges and the Calgary Flames' Steve Staios were present at McMahon Stadium for the official announcement of the 2011 Heritage Classic on Wednesday, August 4th.