There may have not been a Winter Classic last week in Ann Arbor, but that void has been and will be filled by other leagues around the world.
Coming up on Jan. 19, the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre Penguins of the AHL will play at Hersheypark Stadium, which we imagine will feature the smell of Krackel bars wafting through the air. This past weekend in Nurmberg, Germany, the home town Ice Tigers hosted the defending DEL champion Eisbären Berlin at Stadion Nürnberg and packed in over 50,000 fans to watch. Ice Tigers won the game 4-3, but the post-game pyrotechnics show may have been the highlight for everyone involved:
Your move, Winter Classic.
(Can teams make it a 2013 New Year's resolution to rid themselves of "Gangnam Style"? Please?)
The game itself cost a reported one million Euros to put on and while it hasn't been decided yet, there's the chance that this Winter Game could turn into an annual thing being held in various German soccer stadiums while Bundesliga teams are on break.
“It was very special to experience this goose-bump feeling for a couple of hours,” the league’s managing director Gernot Tripcke said. “They created an event that will be hard to top. The Winter Game premiere impressively showed all doubters the attention our sport can unfold in Germany. We have to build on this.”
You might remember when Germany opened the 2010 World Championships against Team USA with the game played before 77,803 fans inside soccer stadium Veltins Arena. While pricey, these games seem to be a hit over there. As long as they come with a sick pyro show like this one, we're all for more DEL Winter Games.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy