2014Jan 28

@LU_SPAD at the NHL Winter Classic

2014-NHL-Winter-Classic-LogoThe Winter Classic has become one of the most anticipated games in the NHL every year. This year was no exception. On January 1st 2014, over 105,000 passionate hockey fans visited Ann Arbor and packed Michigan Stadium (better known as “The Big House”) for a match-up between original-six rivals; The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. The large crowd set an NHL attendance record, and fell just short of breaking a Guinness World Record for largest crowd to watch an outdoor hockey game. The Leafs ultimately won the game 3-2 in a shootout.

This year’s Winter Classic marked the sixth time the outdoor game was held. Moreover, the NHL has bolstered it’s outdoor game schedule, by introducing the new “Stadium Series”. The series will see an additional four outdoor games played in the United States. Just this past weekend, Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles and Yankee Stadium in New York hosted their own outdoor games. Yankee Stadium and Soldier Field in Chicago, will host the remaining two games. Furthermore, the Heritage Classic (Canada’s version of the Winter Classic) will be held in Vancouver, at BC Place.

A number of current SPAD students and alumni made their way to Michigan to take in the festivities on New Year’s Day. A few were gracious enough to share their experiences with us here on the blog. Here is what they had to say.

Stephen Tihal, SPAD ’13:

“The Winter Classic was a once-in-a-lifetime experience; never have I been in a place with that many hockey fans going crazy for 4 hours straight. Being around hockey day in and day out, it was beyond anything imaginable at a regular game. As a Leafs fan it was nice to get the win; but the real kicker for me was being surrounded by 70,000 REAL Leaf fans, it showed what the real fans are really about and was a far cry from the corporate seats at ACC. Even with the frozen beer, the NHL made the Winter Classic an amazing experience from the start of 24/7 right through to Bozie’s shootout winner – an event like this won’t likely happen again.”

Rachel Doerrie, First Year SPAD Student:

“Growing up, U of Michigan was always my dream school, and I dreamed of one day visiting the Big House. When I walked in and looked down at the field, there were no words to describe the feeling. A dream come true. When you are actually in the building, the atmosphere makes it seem so much smaller and tight knit. I was sitting in the ALL Leafs section 40. Cheering and yelling carried throughout the game, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened when the Leafs scored and eventually won. Every time the Leafs scored, fans who had no idea where the person next to them came from, or what their story was, high-fived and hugged, celebrating one team. The game was a true spectacle, and a shining example of what the game of hockey does for the people who love it. Hockey brings people together, and the positive effect it had on people that day with snow blowing in their face and frozen toes, was truly something special.”

Picture Courtesy of Rachel Doerrie Picture Courtesy of Rachel Doerrie


IMG_0085 Picture Courtesy of Rachel Doerrie

We would like to thank Stephen and Rachel for their time, and we look forward to hearing more interesting experiences as the semester rolls on.

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