Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Winter Classic- Feeling Minnesota?

It was announced this summer that the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Washington Capitals at Heinz field for the 2011 Winter Classic. As this will be Sidney Crosby (and the Penguins) 2nd trip to the Winter Classic in the short 4 year history of the spectacle, many hockey fans are upset that the other 25 NHL teams did not get a chance at the excitement. However, I suppose the chance to highlight the Crosby/ Ovechkin rivalry would be too much for the NHL to pass up. The game most certainly will have a lot of hype and a lot of star power, but it is unfortunate that the Penguins will be playing again and that the game has stayed on the East coast.

This leads to the inevitable speculation as to which teams will participate in the 2012 Winter Classic. As I have for the last 3 Winter Classic games, I will go ahead and say that Minnesota is the logical choice to host the Winter Classic. The Bleacher Report listed several reasons why Minnesota would be the perfect place for the Winter Classic. Among them are:
  • In MN, hockey is not just a sport, its an institution.
  • Rinks are littered all over the state, even in backyards.
  • More Minnesotans have worn NHL jerseys than players from any other state.
  • High School State Hockey Championships at the Xcel
  • Hockey-crazed fans.
  • List goes on...
The issue of not having a place to host the event has been replaced with the issue of where to host the event. The Twin Cities are now home to 2 brand new ideal places to have the game. The TCF Bank Stadium of the Gophers Football program would offer a large venue for having the game and Target Field (new home to the MN Twins) offers a beautiful new baseball park where the game could be played. Some uniforms have already been speculated by the Wild fan base:

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold has already made it well known that he is actively pursing the Winter Classic for Minnesota. Several websites are also assuming that a Winter Classic game in Minnesota would likely include an outdoor NCAA college hockey game. (Much like how last year's venue at Fenway included a Friday night game under the lights between Boston College and Boston University.) The big question then for college hockey fans would be who would play in this game? Unfortunately, it is likely a foregone conclusion that the University of Minnesota will be playing in the game. However, who would play as their opponent? I have read that some believe all MN Div. 1 college hockey teams should play. My assumption is that there would be one game and my assumption (and hope) would be that it would be St. Cloud State. Some reasons:

  • Last years record and early predictions for next year suggest St. Cloud State is the BEST college hockey team in Minnesota.
  • The rivalry between Minnesota and St. Cloud is one of the best (if not the best) rivalry in the WCHA.
  • The location (the Gophers and the Huskies are the two teams closest to the Twin Cities)
  • The U of M is Minnesota's largest university... St. Cloud State is Minnesota's second largest university.
Also, check out this video:

What do you think? Should the Winter Classic be held in Minnesota soon, will there be a college hockey game? If so, who will play? Why?


  1. I would rather never have a game here in Minneapolis than have those stripey atrocities donned by the Wild.

  2. The best rivalry in the WCHA? Really!?!

  3. @Runningwiththedogs- I agree that those striped sweaters are ridiculous.

    @Anonymous- Please note I prefaced with "one of the best". If you do not think the SCSU v. UofM rivalry is the best (or one of the best) rivalries in the WCHA, then who is? I am always curious to hear which team(s) consider themselves rivals.

  4. CC / DU is without a doubt the best in the WCHA and - one of the best - in the NCAA. IMO.

  5. @Anonymous- Good call on that one. One of my best friends growing up moved to Colorado Springs and quickly became a CC fan (I believe he even was a Zamboni driver for CC in high school). So I have heard of the intense rivalry there. If the Winter Classic ever goes to Denver and the CO Avalanche (which I hope it does) I hope they feature a CC v. DU game along with it.

  6. Best rivalries have got to be ones where both sides feel it intensely. I don't think Gopher fans feel a whole lot of intensity toward St. Cloud fans.

    Best rivalries in the WCHA are UND/UMTC, UMTC/UW, and CC/DU.


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