For all of the outdoor games scheduled this season, this weekend’s heritage classic seems to be lost in the Olympic shuffle. In theory, the NHL designated it as a chance to welcome the season back after the three week Olympic break, but that seems to have backfired. There is also the fact that the day before, the Stadium series also concludes with Pittsburgh visiting Washington at Soldier Field.
The game is only 5 days away, but there is no buzz around the city of Ottawa, let alone elsewhere in Canada. I don’t know what it is like in Vancouver, but you would think there would be some anticipation regarding the event in the city of the opposing team as well. But maybe its just me, but there couldn’t be less hype surrounding it.
Perhaps another contributing factor is the arena it is going to be played in, which is really not outdoors, but a hybrid of a stadium with a retractable roof that will be partially open air. Its also not either a cold-weather environment nor a warm weather climate. It is supposed to be +7 with a mix of sun and cloud in Vancouver during the day on Sunday.
Another reason that there is no buzz around the game could be the lack of other on-ice festivities like an alumni game, junior contests or AHL matches. As I wrote on the weekend, these complementary events give it more of a festival feel and that is absent in this instance due to poor planning.
The NHL and the Senators have 5 days to try to create some buzz or the event could be a colassal disappointment and affect the future of the Heritage Classic, at least in certain markets.