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Ice Bowl…its official

September 18, 2007

And yesterday the NHL finally confirmed the worst kept secret in Western NY. January 1. Ralph Wilson Stadium. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins versus Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres. Outdoors. The Ice Bowl. Or, as Rob Lucas from Star 102.5 called it the “Amp Energy Winter Classic Really Big Outdoor Game.” Or words to that effect.

Its great that the first NHL outdoor game in the United States is going to be played in Buffalo. This town lives and dies by its sports teams. Talk radio has already taken the attitude of “Bills suck, so how ’bout them Sabres?” and the season hasn’t started yet. It also says a lot about what the NHL thinks of Buffalo to have this game here. We were the highest rated market for the Cup Finals, and we didn’t even have a team playing.

I can picture it now. A beautifully cold day, a light snow falling, tailgating in the parking lot of the Ralph (c’mon, people show up on Thursday for a Bills game, when are they going to show up for this, especially with New Year’s Eve the night before), watching a great game with 74,000+ of your closest friends. Of course, knowing Buffalo, it will either be 60 degrees and sunny or -12 with a lake effect band settling over the Ralph.

The players seem to be having fun with this whole thing.  Campbell and Miller are upset that they will be missing the tailgating. Miller made the comment that when he played in the Michigan/Michigan State outdoor game, all everyone talked about on campus the week prior was the tailgating festivities. ( I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the players stopped by at some of the early tailgaters and mooched breakfast. Would not be surprised at all).  Andrew Peters said the last time he played outdoors was this summer, when he hauled his PS2 outside to play hockey with his brother.  I did have to laugh at the fact that the players at the press conference were in jeans and Sabres polos, while Lindy was told to put on the suit and tie. WGR was giving him some grief about that.

I love the fact that this game is being promoted with snow globes and the tagline of shaking things up. If the NHL were smart, they would sell a copy of the snow globe featured in the ads. I would buy one. But then again, I like shiny, useless objects.

Only one complaint…looking at the photos from the press conference of the event announcement, it looks like the NHL is taking is obsession with piping on apparel to a new level. Even the damn polo shirts have piping on them. What the heck!! I’m not anti-piping by any means, but use it responsibly!

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