Tristan Davis – Sports Editor
There were very few appealing activities to do in the icy conditions of 19th century Canada. However, the British soldiers and the immigrants of Canada were so bored that even hitting around a rawhide-covered ball and hand-crafted wooden stick seemed like a good time. And just like that, the game we call hockey was born. Every year on New Year’s Day, it makes its glorious return to the icy outdoors in what the NHL calls the Winter Classic.
Every sport has its own holiday; baseball owns the Fourth of July, basketball has Christmas Day, and football owns Thanksgiving. All that was left was hockey and the tradition to hold an outdoor game annually on New Year’s Day started in 2008 when the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Ticket sales sold out in hours and the NHL’s revenue was boosted dramatically. It was obvious the NHL made a smart move in investing in the idea.
However, this year the NHL didn’t just stop at New Year’s Day. Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the league, decided to hold a plethora of outdoor games called the NHL Stadium Series, starting a revolution of money-making matchups across the United States. Even the sunny skies of California got its fix; the Anaheim Ducks will make the short trip to Los Angeles to take on the Kings at Dodger Stadium. Other locations include Soldier Field in Chicago and Yankee Stadium in New York.
But why? Well, it’s simple. Hockey isn’t America’s sport. It does have its fair share of fans here in the states, but doesn’t even come close to the amount of views that its big brother leagues do. Outdoor events like these that receive lots of good media coverage and ticket sales is exactly what the
league needs to gain fans and double revenue. Move over, football. There’s a new fast-paced sport skating its way into American television sets. And it’s not curling.