I have to thank my boyfriend Jesse for the idea of this post, I was kind of stumped for a bit. As many of you Wild and Blackhawks fans know, the Wild were awarded a Stadium Series game this year. Yes, for the first time in the 15 going on 16 year existence of the Wild, they will be playing outdoors! No, it’s not the Winter Classic but hey, it’s a start. The big day is February 21st at 2:30 pm! Yep, it’s a Sunday, mark your calendars people, it’ll be a historic day for the Wild, win or lose. Also, IT’S ON HOCKEY DAY IN AMERICA!
The game will be held at TCF Bank Stadium, on the University of Minnesota Campus-Twin Cities. The Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche will also be participating in a Stadium Series game in Denver, Colorado the following weekend.
Now for those of you who don’t know how big of a rivalry this game will be between the Wild and Blackhawks, you may want to do a little research on the North Stars and Blackhawks. You will quickly realize that they really did not like each other too much. Thankfully, the Wild and Blackhawks rivalry is way different now and of course it would be because the Wild aren’t the North Stars and the Blackhawks are a completely different team than they were all those years ago.
It will still be a big rivalry however, Minnesota and Chicago have slowly been building a rivalry that involves many playoff match-ups and a lot of hate shared between the two. I gotta brag a little here but UND alums Jonathan Toews (Chicago) and Zach Parise (Minnesota) have been facing each other for the last few years now and they were just a year apart from being teammates at UND as well. It’s pretty neat that they both get to be in the outdoor game! Now, we all know what a great hockey school UND is so I don’t have to go into much depth there 🙂 haha. Like I said before I have to brag about my school a little and the awesome players that have come from it.
Often times when these two teams play it becomes either a goalie showdown or a goal showdown. There have been some rather high scoring games between these two including a little over 5 years ago when they Wild trailed 5-1 going into the third period and fought back to tie the game at 5 forcing it to overtime and a shoot-out. Which the Wild managed to put the puck in the net and claim the victory, coming back with 5 straight goals, pretty impressive right? Well the Blackhawks aren’t too shabby either, winning the Stanley Cup three times in the last five years and in their last two Cup wins they had to face the Wild in the first round for their second Cup victory, and the second round for their most recent win last year. So yes, there is quite a bit of history between these two teams even with just 16 years of existence for the Wild.
Flashing it back about 22 years, I could go on and on about the rivalry between the North Stars and Blackhawks but I think it’s just easier for you to google it yourself and I have a feeling you’ll get what I mean. There was a lot of blood shed and hate as well. Those two teams did not get along but that was the way hockey was back in that era.
Going from rivalries to the actual game, there will actually be an alumni game between the two cities prior to the actual game. The teams featured will be alumni from Chicago such as Ed Belfour, Dave Christian (UND alum!), Jack O’Callahan (’80 Olympics), Jeremy Roenick and Denis Savard with many others, their coaches are Tony Esposito (Yes Tony!!!) and Pat Foley. The Wild/North Stars alumni will include: Wes Walz, Mike Modano, Jon Casey, Darby Hendrickson and Don Beaupre with many more players from both teams. Their coaches will be Lou Nanne and Tom Reid!
For those of you that follow the Wild fairly close will recognize that Tom Reid also does the radio broadcasts for them, and does a damn good job. So there will be a lot of excitement before the game and during the game as well. With star players like Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews, Mikko Koivu, Teuvo Teravainen and on and on. The teams are faster now than they were back in the day and with it being an outdoor game, the intensity will be even higher.
Playing outside brings the game back to its roots and that is one of the most important reasons that they do this, other than it brings in a lot of money obviously. It gives fans the chance to experience hockey the way it’s meant to be played, outside. I honestly wish their games were outside all the time but that’s the pros for ya and the fans to be honest haha.
I wish I was going to the game but unfortunately it’s open to season ticket holders first of course and I’m not one of those… yet! I plan to be watching though, even if I have to ask off work, it is a big deal you know! The State of Hockey will finally be having its first (of hopefully many) outdoor games. It’s kind of hard to believe Minnesota has never had an outdoor professional game. I mean, hockey is kind of a big deal, just a little. I’m glad it’s finally happening and as much as I wish it was Pittsburgh they were playing against it will be one heck of a game with Chicago.
That is one thing that this series is known for, entertaining hockey. It’s not all fights but actual hockey. Skating, falling, shooting, passing, everything hockey is meant to be. Yes, there are some very hard hits but that is actually part of the game, fighting is not. This game will be on the minds of all the players and fans until the big day finally arrives and it will be like Christmas in February. The really cool part too is that Chicago is not that far so I’m sure there will be a number of Blackhawks fans in the seats. It’s always better when there are fans from both teams and not just one.
One other thing I really wish about the game was that it was on Hockey Day Minnesota… what better day to have the Wild play in Minnesota outdoors?! But of course that’s not how the world works so we’ll just have to pretend even though the Wild will be out-of-town for Hockey Day. Yep, for the first time in like 5 years the Wild will not play at home for Hockey Day. As sad as that is, back to the Stadium Series!
For uniforms, they unfortunately have not been unveiled yet of course but rumors were they will be a kind of throwback with the Wild logo staying the same but with North Star colors… frankly I think that would be amazing! What a better way to unite two teams into one. There was a design on NHL.com but they have not said it’s official so don’t expect it to look exactly the same (I will include the picture below). I haven’t heard anything about the Blackhawks jerseys so I don’t want to speculate too much but I would expect a throwback to what they were like when they played the North Stars? Maybe? I guess we’ll see once the regular season starts, if we’re lucky.
Well, I’ve covered the location, the game, the players, and the uniforms. I’ll probably include another update later in the season as the game comes closer. IT’S ONLY 167 DAYS AWAY!!!! 😀 History will soon be made! I hope you all enjoyed this post and I will continue to post almost one or two a day if I can. I really enjoy writing things now that I have an idea of what I want to cover! Thanks for reading!