Blackhawks to host outdoor game at Soldier Field
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter September 19, 2013 9:55PM
Updated: September 22, 2013 2:27AM
Standing on slick plastic in a suit and dress shoes, it took Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook a few tries, but eventually each split the uprights at Soldier Field — a 50-yard field goal/wrist shot.
The next time the Blackhawks return to Soldier Field, on March 1, they’ll be in full uniform. And there’ll be ice, boards, glass and some 60,000 fans for their Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With the Penguins in town for a preseason game Thursday night, the NHL hyped the post-Olympics outdoor game — one of six the league will hold this year, expanding on its highly successful Winter Classic on New Year’s Day — with a media event at midfield in the Bears’ iconic stadium.
It’ll be the second outdoor game the Hawks have hosted, following the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field against Detroit. It’ll be Pittsburgh’s third outdoor game.
“We had such a good time at Wrigley, we figured we’d come back, go to one of the other iconic venues Chicago has to offer, and throw an even bigger party,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.
The outdoor games obviously are financial boons for the league, but they are meant to evoke the game’s roots, with kids playing on frozen ponds.
“I’ve never played in one, so just to be outdoors, that’s really exciting, playing in front of 70,000 fans,” said Brandon Saad, a Pittsburgh-area native who grew up a Penguins fan. “To be from Pittsburgh, and having friends and family in town in Chicago, it’s definitely something marked off on my calendar.”