This Jan. 1 will be the first time in a long time that we aren't talking about an outdoor NHL game early in the New Year. (Aren't you going to miss all of those "how's the ice?" updates?)
But while the NHL and NHLPA sort out their issues so that we might be talking about a 2014 game at Michigan Stadium, the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers will have you covered if you're looking for some outdoor hockey on New Year's Day.
When the Ontario Reign visit the Wranglers on Jan. 1, the team will be hosting the very first "Indoor Winter Classic." How does an indoor arena play the role of an outdoor venue? For starters, most of the doors inside the Orleans Arena will be left open in order to create a strong breeze to help replicate a wintry environment. While the average temperature in Las Vegas in January is 57 degrees F, maybe there will be a wind gust to help create a Pavel Datsyuk-esque wind-aided goal?
Adding to the atmosphere, the team plans to have a "snow" falling throughout the arena, as well as the sounds of wind during the game.
It might be a typical regular-season matchup for both teams, but like a college bowl game, there will be something on the line for the Wranglers and Reign.
From the Wranglers:
A trophy, which is currently being built, will be presented to the winning team and will feature a chain and a padlock somewhere in the design. The emphasis on the chain and lock is as yet undetermined because it’s a “budget matter,” said a team representative.
This makes us wonder: Does the Winter Classic need some sort of trophy? I mean, everything else is sponsored for that game. We couldn't get a Cold-FX trophy featuring the frozen tears of Mark Messier or something to give to the winning Winter Classic team?
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy