Fortunately for us, they aren't locked out in the Erste Bank Eishockey League. Over the weekend, Pula Arena, a 2,000-plus-year-old Roman amphitheatre, was transformed into the greatest outdoor hockey venue we've ever seen. Medvescak Zagreb played a pair of games against Olimpija Ljubljana and UPC Vienna Capitals in front of over 7,000 fans.
As we told you last month, it took six days to transport 150 tons of equipment from Italy to Zagreb, Croatia. Through partners, sponsors and ticket sales, the entire weekend, which also included a legends game, cost the team around 500,000 Euros (approximately $627,000 USD).
In the end, Olimpija Ljubljana — after a two-hour ice delay thanks to some rain the day before -- took the first game on Friday 3-2, but Medvescak rebounded on Sunday blanking the Vienna Capitals 4-0.
After the jump, video and (beautiful) photos from the weekend.
Here are the highlights:
On Saturday, the legends game featured hockey greats from Croatia and Russia with the Russians winning 10-3. The game featured the likes of Valeri Kamenski, Dmitry Mironov, Andrei Kovalenko, and even KHL president Alexander Medvedev playing on the Russian side.
With their success in returning to the EBEL, it appears likely that Medvescak will be joining the KHL next season, according to Medvedev, though the team hasn't confirmed that it will be moving on from the EBEL just yet.
Finally, with the unique setting and beautiful scenary, the chance for some fantastic photography was there… and we weren't disappointed:
(All photos via Medvescak Zagreb and Sportida)
So we've now had outdoor hockey games in a Roman amphitheatre and a glacier. The KHL's minor division has discussed the possibility of hosting a game this season aboard an aircraft carrier. Suddenly, Michigan Stadium doesn't seem as cool.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
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