February 07, 2010
College hockey is no stranger to holding outdoor games between some of its most prestigious schools and last night's Camp Randall Classic between Wisconsin and Michigan was another reason why the idea works. In front of 55,031 fans, the second largest crowd ever to watch a collegiate hockey game, the No. 3 Badgers came from behind with two power play goals by defenseman Brendan Smith late in the third period to beat the No. 19 Wolverines 3-2.
It was the second outdoor game for both schools as Michigan participated in the "Cold War" back in 2001 against Michigan State at Spartan Stadium and Wisconsin hosted Ohio State at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in 2006. It was also the second outdoor game this season in NCAA D-I after Boston University and Boston College played at Fenway Park on January 8th. Looking forward to next season, it was recently announced that the Wolverines would host Michigan State at Michigan Stadium next December.
After the game, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said that collegiate outdoor games work perfectly:
“Scooter, the ice doctor here from the company that put the ice in, actually feels that doing it at the college level makes a lot more sense than the pros, because if you do it every four years, you’ve got a new crop of students that haven’t experienced it. That’s a pretty common-sense statement. After what happened tonight, I think we can get that upper part of the stadium full based on what happened here.”
The NHL's three Winter Classic's have all been held at professional stadiums to date, with party-like atmosphere's inside and out. But if the game should ever find its way to Penn State's Beaver Stadium, or any large college stadium for that matter, let's hope House of Pain's "Jump Around" is somehow worked into the between-periods game day entertainment as it is during Wisconsin football games and as it was yesterday: