When hype meets frostbite

Living in Chicago and being a Blackhawks fan, you would think that I would be dying to go to this season’s NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

To tell the truth, I did want to go to this game really bad. As my sister asked me, “How many times can you say you’ve seen a hockey game at Wrigley Field?” That raised a good point.

I watched last year’s Winter Classic on TV, which pitted the Penguins against the Sabres, and it was an awesome game. To be able to have something like that in Chicago–against the arch-rival Red Wings, no less–seems like a once in a lifetime.

I have gone to several Chicago Cubs baseball games, and I will say that Wrigley Field is a great place to see a ballgame. Sure, some of the seats are not the best…but there’s something cool about looking out of the park and seeing skyscrapers as the backdrop. It’s a little ballpark in a big city.

But then, at the beginning of the season, the Blackhawks announced that the only way to get Winter Classic tickets was to be a season ticket holder. Not a partial plan, but a full season ticket plan holder. Mind you, despite not making the playoffs last year, the ‘Hawks raised their ticket prices across the board.

That did not quite make sense, as the Blackhawks have 15,000 season ticket holders, while Wrigley Field seats 39,000 for a baseball game. Where would the extra tickets go?

Early in November, the Blackhawks announced in their e-newsletter that there would be a drawing to get the right to purchase Winter Classic tickets. About a week ago, I was notified by email that I did not get picked for the “privilege” (my word, not theirs) to buy tickets.

“So it goes,” as the Tralfamadorians would say. Besides, Chicago is friggin’ cold this time of year. Hell, I went to Cubs games at Wrigley in April and froze my ass off. Maybe it might just be best to stay at home, recover from partying on New Year’s Eve, and watch the game on TV where it is comfy and warm.

But in a twist of fate, the Blackhawks announced that “it has been determined that seats previously unavailable may now be made available for sale.”

I should have seen this coming. Hype the hell out of something, tell people they can’t have it, then at the very last minute, tell them they can have it, being sure to exaggerate how rare or limited it is. The Blackhawks did this with their “sold out” convention over the summer. Passes were sold out, there was a waiting list to try and buy convention passes…and then miraculously, less than a week before the convention, more passes somehow became available. History repeated itself here with the Winter Classic.

Anyway, out of morbid curiosity, I went ahead and tried to purchase tickets to this game (strictly limited to four per person). Here are five good reasons (circled below) as to why I won’t be going to this game on January 1st:

Wow. So, for $325.00 I can sit in the upper deck, or for $100 less I can sit in a lower section and have an obstructed view. Don’t get me wrong, the ballpark is 100 years old or so, and not perfect in its site lines and such…but $225 for “limited view”? Come on!

One of my colleagues at the college paper I work for told me that he went to last year’s Winter Classic, purchasing a “limited view” seat for $10. Granted, that football stadium in Buffalo seats about ten times more people. Using that exchange rate, that means that an obstructed view ticket should cost around $100.

But of course, the world does not work that way.

So, to recap, the reasons I won’t be going to the Winter Classic are:

  • The tickets are too expensive
  • It’s going to be really cold outside
  • The tickets are too expensive
  • The view would probably be from far away or obstructed
  • The tickets are too expensive
  • The game would be easier to watch/see on TV

and did I mention…

  • The tickets are too expensiveOf course, I can think of 325 other reasons not to go. That’s money better spent on hockey cards, if you ask me.

    Let’s hear it for the NHL on NBC!


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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