I’ve always asked myself the question “Would Texas be a good fit for the Winter Classic or a Stadium Series game”.
Ever since the first Winter Classic game in Buffalo in 2008, I’ve been a fan of outdoor hockey. It started with just that one game a year on New Year’s, Then a couple of years after, they started a series of outdoor games called Stadium Series. They’ve played in many NFL, MLB and NCAA venues from Fenway Park to “The Big House ” at Michigan.
In terms of the Stadium Series, they’ve done a couple of games in California with the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks. Since they’ve experimented with California and the weather held its end of the bargain, it got me thinking that Texas might be a viable option.
Here are my factors that I believe would be essential to a great outdoor game.
- Host Team
- Weather for that time of year
- Host Venue
Let’s start by looking at the host team the Dallas Stars.
The question is “Do the Dallas Stars have the fan base to fill a stadium”.
Let’s first take a look at their current venue American Airlines Center. It can fit 18,532 for a game. Right now, the Stars are 12th in the league in attendance averaging just over 18,000 fans. I do believe that Dallas definitely has the fans.
Second, let’s take a look at the weather for the time of year.
The average temperature in Dallas for January is a low of 39 and high of 59 (Fahrenheit). Unfortunately the weather in Texas isn’t always consistent. Sometimes in the middle of the winter, the weather could be in the 70s. While the weather is hard to predict, if they could play an outdoor game in Southern California, you’d think it’d be possible in Texas.
Lastly, I’ll look at the potential venue options. There are plenty to choose from around the Dallas metroplex, but I’ve narrowed the list down to 4. I’ve decided to exclude the 3 collegiate stadiums in Dallas as they are too small. With the exclusion of those stadiums, below are my four that did make the cut.
- Cotton Bowl (Dallas) 92,100
I believe the Cotton Bowl would be the first choice as it is the biggest true outdoor venue in Dallas. It is the current home of the annual Texas-Oklahoma rivalry. In addition, the highest attended event was the 2009 meeting between Texas and Oklahoma at 96,009.
- Globe Life Park (Arlington) 48,114
Globe Life Park is about 20 minutes outside of Dallas in Arlington, Texas and it’s the current home of the MLB’s Texas Rangers. The NHL has done baseball venues before such as in Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia etc.. Globe Life Park has also hosted the World Series, so why not the Winter Classic.
- Globe Life Field (Arlington) 40,000
Currently under construction across the street is Globe Life Field, the new home of the Rangers beginning in 2020. I doubt the game would be held at Globe Life Field because it will have a closed roof. So, it wouldn’t really feel like a true outdoor game.
- AT&T Stadium (Arlington) 80,000
Last but not least, they say everything is “Bigger in Texas”. So, why not bring hockey to the biggest stadium in Texas.
Know to almost everyone as “Jerry World”. AT&T Stadium has hosted many events such as the Super Bowl, Final Four, and even WrestleMania. Now I believe it would face the same disadvantage with the closed roof, but it’d be very cool to see it full of Victory Green and to watch it the game on the giant scoreboard.
Please let me know what are your thoughts or what venues would you see like to be used.
Featured Image photo cred – Josh Tessler