As we wait for the Baltimore Orioles to make more news worthy to report, we sit through the winter doldrums. Sports can sometimes present very unique and interesting opportunities, one of which I think is the NHL’s Winter Classic. Every New Year’s Day the NHL partners with a stadium (usually an MLB ballpark) to host an outdoor hockey game that airs on national television.
A few years ago they held the event at Nationals Park in DC, with the Washington Capitals of course being the home team. Anyone who watched the game that day saw an impressive television production, great visuals of the park and city, and a great game at that. I almost bought tickets myself, but I’m not a cold weather person!
That aside, I think the NHL should consider perhaps adding a twist to this tradition, and maybe consider using ballparks out of NHL markets – yes folks, specifically Camden Yards! Baltimore is definitely a “shadow market” for the Capitals, as well as the Washington Wizards (who originally were the Baltimore Bullets, and even played a preseason game in Baltimore a few years ago). People in Baltimore seem to really embrace the Capitals, and I often see Capitals’ merchandise around town.
So would it not be a cool idea to have a Winter Classic in “the ballpark that forever changed baseball?” Given that Baltimore doesn’t have an NHL team, you could have a game between the Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers, as Baltimore is in between those cities (obviously closer to Washington). And in fact you could use other markets in the same manner; maybe a Kings vs. Sharks game in Seattle, or a Panthers vs. Lightning game in Atlanta?
Just an idea, folks! One of the cooler aspects of these games is that they try to adapt time honored traditions in these ballparks to hockey. When the game was in DC they held a President’s Race just as the Nationals do at their home games. A few years ago when the game was held at Wrigley Field they sang Take Me Out To The Hockey Game during the second intermission. So…could we not see the singing of Thank God I’m a Country Boy during this game?!
It would give the city of Baltimore some exposure, as well as Camden Yards. Furthermore it would give the fans of Baltimore a chance to see the Capitals live in the city and outdoors. Odds of it happening?…probably none!