Minnesota Stadium Series game will serve as State of Hockey showcase

Photo via @mnwild

All Stadium Series/Winter Classic events have their pre-made storylines and talking points.

The game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 20 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will be about American hockey, in an iconic territory for the sport in the United States. It sounds like the answer to Canada’s Heritage Classic.

"(It) gives us all the opportunity to reflect on and appreciate how much our game has grown and how much potential lies ahead,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during a Wednesday news conference at the stadium. 

He also mentioned the game’s American born superstars such as Minnesota’s Zach Parise and Chicago’s Patrick Kane.

Photo via @mnwild
Photo via @mnwild

The state of Minnesota has the highest number of registered USA Hockey members at 55,450. Illinois had 30,553 per the 2014-15 totals. 

Also, look at the above lead logo with giant trees and outdoorsy stuff. 

Said Blackhawks president John McDonough, “It’s almost spiritual to be standing here talking about an outdoor game in Minnesota.”

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As is the case with most Stadium Series/Winter Classic events, the biggest moment will probably be the alumni game. That weekend it’ll include classic Blackhawks such as Jeremy Roenick and Ed Belfour as well as star players from both the Wild’s early incarnation (Andrew Brunette and Wes Walz) and old North Stars like Neal Broten. Here is the full roster of both teams. Basil McRae and Mike Modano back together again!

Minnesota owner Craig Leipold was dogged in his pursuit of  the game. This made sense seeing that Minnesota is a hockey-crazed state and Twin Cities area hadn’t had an outdoor game yet.

In case you were wondering, the high temp in Minneapolis on Feb. 20 last year was 25 degrees Fahrenheit and the low was five degrees.

“I’m looking forward to the alumni game as much as I’m looking forward to the regular season game – almost as much,” Minnesota own Craig Leipold said. “This is an unbelievable day for us. We’ve worked really, really hard the last 7-8 years to get an outdoor game for our market and our fans.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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