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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Winter Classic Thoughts

    On New Year’s day, the Winter Classic generated the most interest in the NHL since Wayne Gretzky’s retirement. On a cold blustery day, over 70,000 people packed into Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo to see the Buffalo Sabres take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. This was a celebrated day for the NHL. This past week it has been reported the NHL is looking to duplicate the event at Yankee Stadium. One Problem – This will be the last even ever held at the “House that Ruth Built.” Glorious day for hockey? Or blasphemous day for baseball?

    Matt Ehresman, Staff Writer:

    After watching the Winter Classic this past New Year’s Day, I thought I’d want nothing more than for my beloved New York Rangers to be a part of it. If the city of Buffalo can generate the public interest that it did I couldn’t imagine what New York City could do with this event. But I’m also conflicted. As a die-hard Yankee fan I can’t see the last event at the Stadium being a hockey game, played months after the final baseball game. While Yankee Stadium has been host to many non baseball events, from boxing to football to rock concerts, baseball should be what closes out this historic venue.

    While Yankee Stadium would provide a stage like none other, I feel New York can still be a part of the Winter Classic without Yankee Stadium. Why not Giants Stadium? While it doesn’t have the history of Yankee Stadium it holds 20,000 more fans and its confines would make viewing the game much easier for fans. Giants Stadium would be an ideal location for a match-up between the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. Filling the stadium would not be an issue as the trip from Philly to East Rutherford is under two hours, so two cities can be incorporated into this event. Playing the game in February would also alleviate any conflicts with the Jets and Giants season. While Yankee Stadium seems to be the dream location, Giants Stadium would be the ideal location.

    Keith Kobasiuk, Senior Writer:

    I actually love the idea. Hockey is not a very popular sport in America compared to football, baseball, and even basketball. The NHL has been working very hard to sell their product, and I think the Winter Classic in Buffalo was a great idea. It was fun for the players and the fans, and great for hockey. Yankee Stadium is full of history. It has not only been the home of the Yankees, but of the New York football Giants from 1956-1973. Why not let the Rangers call it home for a game too.

    Mike Fodera, Senior Writer:

    The idea of Major League Baseball and George Steinbrenner allowing the New York Rangers to play the final game ever in Yankee Stadium is one of brilliance. In the hopes that it will be as successful as this past year’s Winter Classic, having one of the original six teams play in one of the most popular sporting events next to the Super Bowl is not only a great idea, it seems like a no-brainer.

    However, who thought that people would like to see the Rangers against the Boston Bruins. No one outside of the tri-state area and Massachusetts would care. Atleast with the Buffalo Sabres against the Pittsburgh Penguins, people got to see two rising stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and a top goaltender in Ryan Miller. And let’s not forget the first Winter Classic, then called the Heritage Classic, a couple of years ago with Edmonton Oilers versus the Montreal Canadiens, two of the top Canadian teams. If any teams should be playing in the Yankee Stadium Classic, which is what I’m calling it, it should be the Rangers against the Islanders, two teams that hate each other, and fans who each other even more. Although having a home and home outdoor game two years in a row, one in New York and the other at Fenway makes a lot of sense, no one cares about a Rangers/Bruins game except for Rangers and Bruins fans. It would make more sense to have the Rangers play the Islanders.

    Brian Morgan, Senior Writer:

    As a hockey fan, I would love to see the Winter Classic at Yankee Stadium. The game would not only be great for hockey and the NHL, but to be played at Yankee Stadium makes perfect sense. Besides there being a substantial hockey market from the three surrounding teams (Rangers, Islanders, and Devils), the stadium is scheduled to be knocked down to be made into a parking lot. Therefore, the producers can manipulate the stadium however they want, without having to worry about returning it to its original baseball form. Opponents want the last game played at Yankee Stadium to be a Yankee game. The only way I consider that is if their last game played there involves them winning the World Series.

    If the game were to happen, the Rangers are the obvious favorite to host the game, however the opponent still hasn’t been decided. As a devil fan, I would love to see a Ranger vs. Devils game outdoors, but that match is highly unlikely. The NHL has to consider that this game has to be marketable to the rest of the United States and also Canada (but who cares about Canada). From a market standpoint, the opponent that makes the most sense is the Detroit Red Wings, being that the Wings come from the biggest hockey market in the US. However, being that it’s going to be played in Yankee Stadium, I would love to see them play the Boston Bruins. Besides Duke vs. North Carolina, there’s no greater rivalry in United States sports than that between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Therefore there is no greater way to honor the Yankees and Yankee Stadium, than playing a game that involves another New York vs. Boston rivalry, something that can appeal to anyone who is a sports fan in the United States.

    Shonto Olander, Sports Editor:

    Why not? I think it’s great the NHL is actually trying to market the game with something that’s actually successful. Yankee Stadium hasn’t been used for just baseball. Pele, U2, Muhammad Ali and the Pope have all graced the confines of the Stadium. For a hockey game to be played there doesn’t ruin it’s history. It falls in line with it. The Rangers playing an original six team or any star studded franchise would be a great matchup. Having the Winter Classic in the Bronx would generate more fans that last year’s event. As bad as Bettman has been for the NHL, he may have one redeeming part to his legacy.

    Carl Carrie, Staff Writer

    Yankee Stadium is one of America’s most storied buildings. Built in 1923, it has hosted the New York Yankees, the New York Giants, and some of the greatest boxing matches. However, when one thinks of Yankee Stadium, they think of the Yankees. It is the “House that Ruth Built.” It was the place that Aaron Boone hit his extra inning homer, the place that Reggie hit three homeruns in three pitches, and the place that Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Bernie Williams patrolled center field. A dying Lou Gering called himself the luckiest man alive on this field. The last game at Yankee Stadium should be a baseball game, not a hockey game. It would be a slap on the face to all the former greats that walked on that green grass.

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