Outdoor hockey games have taken off since the NHL made it a tentpole event on their schedule back in 2007-08. College hockey, which really started the craze with the Cold War between Michigan and Michigan State in 2001, has seen 17 men's and women's outdoor games since 2010 alone. This season will be no different with three NCAA games starting with Nebraska-Omaha versus North Dakota at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha on Saturday.
A week later will feature a historic doubleheader featuring Notre Dame versus Miami University and Minnesota versus Wisconsin in the Hockey City Classic in the first ever hockey game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
As with all of these outdoor games, numerous festivities fill up the schedule to get as much use out of the rink as possible. In Chicago, things kicked off on Friday with a "Skate with the Greats" night featuring Blackhawks legends Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito. Seven high school games are scheduled for Friday and Saturday before the college team's take to the ice on Feb. 17.
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