NHL: Winter Classic, Part Deux

Dan SmithCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2008

The Winter Classic is back for another year. 

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the second installment of the NHL's Winter Classic will be held at Chicago's Wrigley Field.  The two teams involved this year will be the Chicago Blackhawks and the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. 

The choice of teams in this year's game is a good one.  The Red Wings are a nationally-known team, and Detroit is a big hockey market.  Some names on Detroit may still be known to the casual fans. 

The Blackhawks, however, are virtually unknown outside of the hockey world.  Not many people will know who Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are before the game—but hopefully they will know after. 

It was long rumored that the game was going to be held in either Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, or Beaver Stadium in State College, PA.  If the game was in State College, it most likely would have been between the Flyers and Penguins. 

With the game at Wrigley Field, the crowd won't be nearly as large as last year's. Wrigley only holds 41,118 people, while at last year's Winter Classic, there were 70,000+ at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. 

But attendance isn't really the name of this game.  The whole point is novelty and publicity. 

The NHL will get a lot of press from the event—but I fear the league will also be seen as more of a novelty or niche sport. 

An event like this should be held every two years at the most, or rotate between the U.S. and Canada.  I'm sure the Canadians would have no trouble with selling out that game.  The tickets would most likely sell out in five minutes. 

Hopefully it all goes well, and this doesn't turn into another embarrassing Bettman stunt.