According to The Detroit News, the Michigan Wolverines men's hockey team will play an outdoor game for the third consecutive seasons. This year Michigan will face CCHA and future BTHC opponent Ohio State at the Cleveland Indians' Progressive Field on Sunday, January 15, 2012.
"I'd never say no to an outdoor game," [Head Coach Red] Berenson said. "It's great for the players and unique for our fans. It's throwback hockey. Our fans get fired up for outdoor games. They travel well."
This will be the third outdoor game in as many seasons, and fourth overall for the Wolverines. Michigan faced Wisconsin in the 2010 Camp Randall Hockey Classic, and played Michigan State last season in the Big Chill at the Big House. Michigan and Michigan State are also credited for popularizing this recent outdoor college hockey game trend with their 2001 Cold War game at Spartan Stadium.
Michigan remains one of the country's most recognizable college hockey programs despite not having won a National Championship in over 12 years. Coincidence?
This got me thinking about Boston College. Instead of waiting around and letting Hockey East organize outdoor college hockey games at Fenway Park, shouldn't we take matters into our own hands? Besides, Joe Bertagna wants to continue to spread the wealth with outdoor games at Fenway Park, and at this rate the HEA Commissioner is looking at a 2013 Fenway Park doubleheader that includes Merrimack, Northeastern, Providence and UMass-Lowell.
Shouldn't HEA's most dominant hockey program of the past decade go out and organize one of these outdoor hockey games on their own? Who needs outdoor hockey at Fenway Park with its terrible sight lines when you could play a game at Alumni Stadium, Harvard Stadium or Foxboro?
The other noticeable feature of these outdoor hockey games is they are always matchups between conference opponents. Yes, even the Whalers Hockey Fest where 1,711 fans watched the UConn men's team beat Sacred Heart 3-1. There have only been two exceptions to this rule -- the 2006 Frozen Tundra Classic between Wisconsin and Ohio State and the 2010 Camp Randall Hockey Classic between Wisconsin and Michigan, though both pairings will become conference foes when the Big Ten Hockey Conference is formed.
Basically, this whole outdoor college hockey game between conference foes is played out. Let's think bigger. BC vs. Notre Dame outdoor hockey at Notre Dame Stadium? BC vs. Minnesota at the Gophers' new TCF Bank Stadium? Hell, even an exhibition between the Eagles and Nittany Lions at Citizens Bank Park as the undercard for the 2012 Winter Classic.
My point is this: why is a program like BC content standing on the sidelines while they watch Michigan jump at every chance the Wolverines get to play an outdoor hockey game? As Hockey East's dominant program and as one of BC's two National Championship-caliber varsity sports (the lone National Championship-calibre sport, if you don't count sailing), we should be finding ways to better market the program, creating our own opportunities to play hockey outside in the elements.
GDF shouldn't be afraid to dream a little bigger when it comes to these outdoor college hockey games. /pulls out grenade launcher