CHICAGO – You couldn’t have timed it any better. After a bad wave of storms the skies started to break and the sun started to beat on the crowd on this humid day. You would think we are talking about baseball in the summer but no we are talking about a indoor winter sport in an outdoor winter venue.
How appropriate is it to kick off the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series in Chicago at the home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears in Soldier Field on the same day as the two participants, the Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh in a preseason tilt as Chicago begins their defense as Stanley Cup Champions.
The press conference was set on the 50 yard line where center ice would be. Dignitaries from all the participants were on hand with Blackhawks play-by-play broadcaster Pat Foley doing the honors of Master of Ceremony.
“We’re back,” as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman kicked things off, “The Blackhawks will have the privilege of being the first NHL team to host two of our outdoor game and we had such a good time at Wrigley we figured we come back, we go to one of the other iconic venues that Chicago has to offer and we throw an even bigger party.”
Rocky Wirtz added to that and stated that, “We are going to make this event a very special day for Chicago.”
And not to be left out, Penguins General Manager Ray Shero was on hand and quipped, “We’ve been fortunate enough to play in two other outdoor games, one being back in Buffalo in the snow and one in Pittsburgh in the rain… We are one and one and we are looking to get above .500.”
Also on hand was Jackie Woodward, Vice President of Marketing Connections for locally based Miller/Coors representing the title sponsor of the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series; Rob Zamuner, the NHLPA’s Divisional Representative; and Mike Kelly, the General Superintendent and CEO if the Chicago Park District that runs the operations over at Soldier Field.
Also on hand were Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook who both had a little contest at the end to see who can shoot the most pucks through the field goal posts
One of the main reasons that the league came up with the Stadium Series is to keep the fans interest in hockey as the league comes back to play just days after their participation in the Sochi Olympics. The game is set for the evening of Saturday March 1st at 7pm locally.
“Taking our game to its outdoor roots is something that is special and unique to us,” was a great way for Bettman to sum up the series.