Tonight, we learned that there will be an outdoor game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks in my very own city on March 1st. But when the game was announced, the response from many was less than enthusiastic. So I thought I would share my opinion as a Chicago resident:
Suck it haters, this game is going to be awesome.
The Penguins come to Chicago very infrequently. Their last regular season game in Chicago was in 2011. And now that the Blackhawks have won the Cup, the city is swarming with bandwagon fans, so getting tickets is no longer easy or cheap. Chicago Pens fans are deprived. We deserve a big hockey event, with lots of seats, that features the Pittsburgh Penguins.
I would like to respond to a few of the criticisms I saw (and I don't remember who said them, so this isn't directed at anyone in particular):
Okay, I get it. Outdoor games are a cloying PR move, and you're too cool to enjoy something that Bettman and company contrived to promote the sport. That's your choice, and nothing will stop you from being too cool for this game, in the comfort of your own home, where you can craft witty one-liners on Twitter throughout the event. Other people, for example me, really want the opportunity to attend an outdoor Pens game in Chicago -- an event that will bring them a great deal of excitement and happiness. And there is nothing stupid about excitement and happiness.
2) "Playing six games outside will take away from the Winter Classic."
I mean -- it's not like we're giving away six Stanley Cups. We're playing five additional games in buildings that don't have ceilings. If the other five games are going to ruin the Winter Classic for you, I think you need to reevaluate your approach to life and, in particular, your need to deprive others of enjoyable experiences so that you feel special. Countless people, including many adorable small children, and at least one delightful and highly deserving 29 year old, are going to make joyous memories at these outdoor games. This is a good thing for hockey, and for humanity in general.
3) Chicago doesn't deserve an outdoor game because they already had one.
Do you know what the temperature is right now, as I am writing this? It's 42 degrees. On April 16th. Chicago is a wonderful city, don't get me wrong, but living here sucks. Taxes are high, the politicians are corrupt, the CTA is constantly broken or on fire, and we have more murders than sunny days. Other cities have warm weather, and salsa dancing, and laughter, and tropical drinks with umbrellas -- and no, they don't have outdoor hockey games in March, but I still think they come out on top. So, LET US HAVE OUR OUTDOOR HOCKEY GAMES.
4) The Penguins don't deserve another outdoor game because they've already participated in two Winter Classics, and the NHL & NBC need to stop touching themselves over Sidney Crosby and give other teams a chaaaannnce.
Look, I know it seems like the Penguins get special treatment. We're on national television so often that I basically paid $25 for every Pens game that was on Gamecenter. But the unfortunate reality is that nobody wants to see a special outdoor event featuring the Chicago Blackhawks verses your crappy team. Outdoor games are designed to attract new fans to the sport -- and we don't want new fans to witness your team's incompetent players tripping over themselves and begging to be traded while Patrick Kane skates around them in circles. They will think hockey is an inhumane sport where simpering douchebags bulldoze the weak, and they will never watch another game. So, I'm sorry, but that's how it is. The good news is that if these six outdoor games are a success, the tradition may eventually expand to include lesser teams like yours. So just hang in there, and hope that someone like Mario Lemieux takes over your team one day. You never know, it could happen!
Meanwhile, I am going to be the first one "in line" (reloading ticketmaster in my pajamas) for tickets. I am going to brag about my tickets for five months. I am going to take 100 photos of myself attending the game, and I am going to have a hysterical meltdown and get carried out by security if Sidney Crosby gets injured. It's my turn, and I am going to enjoy the living crap out of it. So there.