The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES has some good news & bad news for hockey fans in the Windy City. The bad news: It doesn’t appear that the Blackhawks will be playing an outdoor game at Soldier Field any time soon.
The good news: Because they’ll be playing at Wrigley Field instead.
Comcast SportsNet reported Wednesday night that the ‘Hawks would be facing old foes the Detroit Red Wings at the North Side ballpark for next season’s Winter Classic. The Sun-Times follows up that an official announcement could be made later this week.
The NHL has been wanting to go outside again, ever since 71,217 fans showed up at Ralph Wilson Stadium last New Year’s Day to see the Buffalo Sabres take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
However, plans for the New York Rangers stake around Yankee Stadium seem to have melted, and talk of having the Penguins face the Philadelphia Flyers in Penn State’s football stadium is just talk at the moment.
A hockey game at Wrigley won’t likely set any new NHL attendance records, since the capacity is around 41,000 - or about 30,000 less than the Bills’ home. Maybe if they add in the Wrigleyville rooftops.
But it’s not like the park isn’t used to non-baseball activities. The Chicago Bears spent many seasons at 1060 W. Addison, playing at the park long up until 1970. So if they can squeeze a 100-yard gridiron into Wrigley, a hockey rink should prove much more difficult.
If only former ‘Hawks owner Bill Wirtz was alive to see this - he could blackout the game on local TV.