Friday, July 25, 2008

Sometimes You Just Shake Your Head

Wisconsin and Minnesota were trying to get together to play an outdoor hockey game at Camp Randall Stadium next season, followed by an outdoor game at TCF High School Stadium in Minneapolis the following year. But as Todd Milewski of The Capital Times reported today, those games are on hold thanks to the WCHA. The event was being put on by the Herb Brooks Foundation, and the WCHA didn't want control of a league game going to an outside entity.

Here's WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod on the reason for the veto:
"If they want to take an exempted game or something like that, we'll cooperate and do what we can. But with a regular-season game and somebody else running it, and you know how those points go -- especially Wisconsin the last few years -- that can be critical. So we're quite concerned about the circumstances under which these games are played.
Emphasis mine. That's an obvious reference to the blown video replay call that cost Wisconsin a game against Denver last season, and eventually ended up costing Wisconsin home ice in the WCHA playoffs.

Of course, the only problem with that logic is that the WCHA was in charge of those screw-ups. Basically what McLeod is saying is that if anybody is going to screw-up a WCHA game, Goddammit, it's going to be the WCHA. I'm not sure what the risk is here. Is McLeod afraid that if the Herb Brooks Foundation hires referees that completely blow a game-changing call, they won't issue a heartfelt apology letter like McLeod had to do multiple times last season?

In any case, it's a shame that it looks like Minnesota and Wisconsin won't be able to have a successful outdoor game like many NHL and college programs have had.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with your take, though I can only imagine what Bruce means is that he's concerned about not having video replay for those games, or at least how cameras could be placed to enable video replay.

Hopefully this will be a temporary stumbling block, and the two schools could move forward with this excellent plan.

JD said...

Why doesnt the WCHA or the CCHA get together with the NHL and play a game at Wrigley the day before the Hawks/Redwings game? They go to all the trouble to set the rink up why not promote College hockey at the same time?
JD

Jack Sprat said...

No big deal. Outdoor games were cool, the first time one was ever played and when they started playing the Minnesota high school games in Baudette. It kind of seems like they've run their course.

Oh, Bruce McLoed is certainly an idiot, though.

Anonymous said...

""Why doesnt the WCHA or the CCHA get together with the NHL and play a game at Wrigley the day before the Hawks/Redwings game?""

Probably because it would lose some of the "awe" effect for the Redwings/Hawks game. If they did it after it would probably be ok, but still kinda loses some its luster.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the post about Wrigley Field and the Hawks/Wangs. The ice is there, why not have UW and Michigan/Michigan St/Notre Dame play a warm up game either right before or the day before or after the Winter Classic?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't that the plan if/when the outdoor game was to be played at Invesco (at some point). Youth games would be played followed by DU & CC and then the Avs and Red Wings.

Anonymous said...

Plus playing another game that truly matters the same day as the NHL one in Chicago would really do a number on the ice.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Wisconsin and Minnesota team up with Michigan and Michigan State and do an outdoors College Hockey Showcase. Set up rinks at Michigan Stadium and Spartan Stadium one year and then at Minnesota and Wisconsin the next. Of course, a lot would depend on the college football schedule (i.e. this year Michigan's last home game is Nov. 15, so it could work for them). All big college hockey programs with national name recognition being Big Ten teams, too. And at least they wouldn't do all that setup for just one game. If it could be pulled off, that'd be pretty neat and be great exposure for the sport.

Anonymous said...

JD...I totally agree with your idea. This would be a great sale for the game of college hockey. The WCHA is missing the boat here....

RR said...

Well it's no Blakeslee Field.

Anonymous said...

Why not have the show case outdoors?

Anonymous said...

wouldn't it be great if there was one ncaa hockey czar who could run ncaa hockey like a business.

the partnership with the nhl is an amazing idea. could be a hockey day in america theme.

but no ncaa hockey leadership means no game.

pathetic

RR said...

I played outdoor games in Pee-wees and Bantams in the 60's and 70's. Playing outdoor games suck. For the players and the spectators.

Anybody looked at the field at Camp Randall? It has a real nice crown. Making an acceptable rink on that surface would be too much work for the supposed positive benefit. (What are the supposed positive benefits anyway?) Good atmosphere to get drunk though.

Outdoor games at the NCAA or NHL level are just a cheap gimmick to attract fans around the margins. Good way to wreck a perfectly good game. Good decision to kill the idea.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt the NHL or the Hawks would allow a Michigan-Wisconsin game the day before. Two prominent programs and fanbases playing right before them would really steal some of their thunder.

Anonymous said...

rr....are you not aware of how popular the New Years outdoor game was last year?? All the players said they loved it. They probably do things a bit different at this level than what was done at your bantam games on the pond.

RR said...

I watched the New Years game between Buffalo and the Penguins. It was boring to watch. Took way too long to play, there were too many problems with the ice, it was snowing and it was quite lacking in real quality hockey. It was a gimmick, plain and simple.

I have no doubts that the players found a certain amount of enjoyment playing the game. It was certainly a change from their routine. But it was still a gimmick.

Incidently during the times I referenced playing Pee-wee and Bantam games, nearly all traveling team games were played outdoors in Minnesota. There were only a handfull of indoor ice facilities (Braemar,Blake school,The Ice Center, Wakota Arena, Minnetonka Arena,Bloomington Ice Garden)in the Mpls-St.Paul suburbs until the early to mid seventies when the boom in arena building really took off. The only ponds being skated on were in the neighborhood pick-up games.