Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wrigley almost ready for Winter Classic

They brought the Mayor down to Wrigley on Monday to take the official tour of the outdoor rink, set for Chicago's turn to host the NHL's outdoor showcase game.

The New Years Day match will feature the hometown Hawks, currently one of the hottest teams in the NHL taking on the defending Stanley Cup champions and perennial rivals for Chi town, the Detroit Red Wings.

It marks the first time that Wrigley Field has ever hosted an NHL game and only the third time the NHL has brought the game outdoors in the modern era.

The game arrives in Chicago at just the right time, hockey after far too many years as an afterthought, is once again a top draw in Chicago, the Black Hawks are playing regularly to large crowds, they can finally be found on local television and the sports talk shows now regularly feature hockey talk, something that didn't happen too often in the not so recent past.

While the anticipation builds and quest for tickets continues (240,000 applications have been received for the 40,000 seats available), the players that will take to the ice may be keeping an extra bit of time on the weather channel these days.

Chicago, like much of North America is in the grip of the extreme cold temperatures and frequent snowfall of late, in fact this week the city of Chicago has closed its outdoor rinks to the public due to the extreme cold.

The Wings and Hawks are probably hoping for slight break in the weather, not enough to ruin the plans, but enough of a warming trend and a little less of those infamous Lake Michigan winds to make a shift on the ice a little less life threatening.

Chicago Sun Times-- Wind, not cold, main concern

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