Ready for outdoor NHL hockey in Vancouver?
Tickets are on sale this week for the NHL’s 2014 Heritage Classic, which will see the Vancouver Canucks face the Ottawa Senators on March 2. But it’s not the matchup as much as the venue that matters. The game will take place on a specially built rink insideB.C. Place. – and, if all goes well, the roof will be wide open.
Judging from ticket sales, enthusiasm in Vancouver is high. Since going on sale on Thursday, the cheapest ticket categories ($62.20 and $104.20) have already sold out on Ticketmaster and a sellout of the entire 54,500-seat stadium seems in the cards,according to the Vancouver Sun.
Outdoor NHL games have surged in popularity in recent years. The first Heritage Classic – which pits two Canadian teams against one another in an open-air venue – took place in Edmonton in 2003. A second was hosted in Calgary in 2011. Meanwhile, since 2008, yearly Winter Classic games between American teams have been held in the U.S.
For fans and players, the appeal is obvious. There’s the excitement of playing in a stadium venue, with crowds easily twice as large as anything an arena could accommodate. Then, there’s the idea of playing outdoors, which evokes childhood memories of a simpler game played on icy ponds and in backyards.
But all that excitement doesn’t come without risks. Past outdoor games have been plagued by poor ice conditions and even snow and rain. If rain is in the forecast when the Canucks take the ice against the Senators, organizers may even have to resort to closing the stadium’s retractable roof.
This upcoming Heritage Classic in Vancouver is one of six outdoor games lined up this season to accommodate increased fan demand. Fittingly, the Canucks and Senators will be facing off on March 2 in throwback uniforms. The Canucks will don the maroon-coloured Vancouver Millionaires jersey, which the team wore when Vancouver defeated Ottawa to win the city’s only Stanley Cup back in 1915.