Pond Hockey in Van City
After rumours leaked a few months ago, the NHL officially announced today that the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators would hook up in an “outdoor” game at BC Place on March 2.
It’s an exciting announcement but it also raises a few questions ahead of the big game.
1. Vancouver and…Ottawa?
I get this is a heritage classic, heavy on the heritage, and the Vancouver Millionares did defeat the Ottawa Senators back in 1915 for the Stanley Cup, but why this matchup in the modern day?
Can anyone name one memorable meeting between these two in the modern day, save perhaps for this one?
Think about how much bigger a date with the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers would have been, complete with pockets of diehard fans who made the trip from Alberta scattered across BC Place.
The emotion and the atmosphere will be guaranteed, but what an initial head scratcher of a matchup.
2. Is this really an outdoor game?
Sure, the roof is retractable but BC Place has always been considered an indoor venue and there’s no guarantee it will open if it rains in early March, as it tends to do.
Thus, the romanticism of the weather will take a backseat to the romanticism of seeing the Canucks in an arena traditionally associated with football and rock concerts.
3. How much will tickets cost?
It could be a lesson in economics. If 20,000 people are willing to pay exborant prices to see the Canucks play at Rogers Arena, will 60,000 people pay the same for a one-off at BC Place or will the nosebleeds finally be affordable to families hoping to catch a game?
For that matter, what will the view be like way up top? An ice rink for ants?
4. Is this part of the saturation of something special?
Between this game, the stadium series, and the rescheduled Winter Classic, you’ll be seeing a lot of outdoor games next year.
Is this expanding the brand or diluting the product? Whether anyone cares by the time the Heritage Classic rolls around should be a good barometer.
Who knows? Maybe in ten years all games will be played outside and inside games will be a marquee draw.
5. Do we see special uniforms?
New uniforms, aka new revenue streams, are the norm of these outdoor contests but the Canucks and Sens have already unveiled throwback heritage uniforms in years prior.
Is there some short-lived design from the turn of the century left to be resurrected and monetized? I’m sure we’ll find out.
Oh, and as a bonus you can start visualizing your Canucks alumni game rosters now.