Yankee Stadium: A Perfect Place for a Hockey Game
Over 100,000 people entered Yankee Stadium on Sunday and Wednesday to watch something that looking back in the 90s, and part of the 2000s, seemed like a pipe dream. These games didn’t seem possible. Why? The league didn’t feel like taking the risk. Since the inception of the Winter Classic, which was first played on January 1, 2008, the NHL after the success of the first game thought over the past few years. What could we do next?
Introducing, the Stadium Series. A 4 game series, set around various baseball or football fields across America. Luckily, with the New York City area having three teams so close by, Yankee Stadium hosted two games. It was not only a treat for fans of the respective teams, but it was a treat for those who wanted to celebrate the game of hockey.
First off, Dave Maloney said it during the New York Rangers practice, which was aired on MSG, having these games is good for the teams involved, because it breaks them away from the norm. It gives them a chance to step away from the indoors, and get a nice taste of what it feels like outdoors. If Sunday wasn’t an indicator, then Wednesday sure was due to it being absolutely cold. The cold elements could have played a factor in how these teams played, but they churned on and put on the best performance they possibly could.
Comparing where I sat? Sunday by far was the better seating choice. Sitting high up in section 313 (Wednesday I sat in 108), I got to see the play better, the control of the puck a lot more. I got to see the plays develop, and I got to see Jaromir Jagr undress Henrik Lundqvist. But, hey the Rangers won! That’s what it’s all about, right? No, when you walked into Yankee Stadium, you felt it. You felt the mystique, you felt the magic that Yankee Stadium brings, night in and night out for the Yankees.
The Stadium had enough NHL flair, while still having the entire Yankee Stadium feel. From where I sat, I could see the bullpen, where Mariano Rivera would warm up before coming out in the ninth. I saw Monument Park, where the plaques of Mantle, DiMaggio, and Ruth all stand to commemorate what they’ve done. I saw the scoreboard, which showed the game and stats. Oh yeah, I saw two hockey games there too. It’s just crazy to think about.
By far this was something I would suggest to anyone who loves the sport. The NHL did it right with the first three Stadium Series games. In LA, it was more of a thank you to Wayne Gretzky, who gave the sport life in California. In New York, it was about the teams that played sure, but it was about where the game was being played as well. There is history in this stadium, and history was made this week by having the first two hockey games there.
I think Henrik Lundqvist said it right where he said he’ll never forget these games. He’s so right. Even though obviously I didn’t play I will remember these games because of how hard fought they were. If there was one thing I could say I wasn’t too happy about, it was the entertainment the NHL got, but honestly, who cares? You’re not there watching a concert, you’re watching a hockey game. For Ranger fans, we couldn’t ask for two better games.
If the NHL decides to bring back the Stadium Series to New York, the Rangers will be happy to play two again. Of this I’m sure and I’ll be happy to go back and watch.