Hockey classics a thing of the past?

Classic: Of the first or highest quality, class, or rank.

I started with that definition in regard to the three categories of outdoor hockey the NHL serves up to us.

We have the ‘Heritage’, ‘Winter’ and ‘Stadium’ series classics and I am now wondering if it’s time the book was closed on these events.

Since 2003 we have had 13 outdoor hockey games and I feel the novelty has worn off unless it’s your team playing or it’s being held in your city.

What gave me reason to ponder this was yesterday’s game between Vancouver and Ottawa.

It was held in a place where winter is a dirty word and it was played in a stadium with a roof.

Sort of like a hockey arena but without the ice.

Now of course the roof is retractable but one reporter pointed out if the weather got nasty cold, like maybe under zero Celsius, the roof would be closed.

I also had to do a double take when I saw all the cotton laid out around the rink to make it look like snow.

There are currently thousands of pill bottles, sans cotton it would appear.

I think the fine folks on the left coast missed the ferry on this one when it came to ambience and what playing outdoors really means.

Back in 1991 the L.A. Kings and New York Rangers squared off in the parking lot of Caesars palace in Las Vegas for an exhibition game.

The two teams battled on the ice under a 27C temperature at game time and then had to deal with hundreds of grasshoppers jumping onto the ice either freezing or drowning in the melted slop they were playing on.

Talk about your ambience!

Of course we had the first Heritage Classic in Edmonton in 2003 when the Oilers and Habs did battle in minus bazillion temperature.

You were given a medal and hot toddy for surviving that one – possibly a free amputation of a digit or two as well.

So with this latest one held in the comfort of an indoor football stadium in a city where cold is a temperature slightly lower than your fridge, the shine has come off this event quickly from where I sit.

I just don’t see the classic in these things anymore, especially if we go by the definition.

sports@reddeerexpress.com

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