Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It could happen: HS Winter Classic in NJ

Ice Hockey. New Jersey. Outdoors.

It is something that we rarely picture. But could it happen here?


On Sunday, Paul Bruno of NJ.com thought out loud about
holding a high shool outdoor ice hockey event in the Garden State.

Alliance Hockey photo
It is a rare occurence that allows me to write about two of my passions in the same post. As a kid, I skated on a branch of the Assunpink Creek that went through my parents' property. It rarely freezes over anymore, but in North Jersey, especially the Skylands, they get to lace up skates outdoors quite often. Even parts of the award-winning documentary, Pond Hockey, were filmed farther east - in Bergen County.

But where in the state could a game like this occur?

The coldest place in New Jersey of course - Sussex County. And they have two potential venues that would work.

My first thought would be Skylands Park in Augusta. It is home to the Sussex Skyhawks of the Cam-Am League. If you could get Century Link and other sponsors on board, it would be the perfect venue.
If that doesn't work, I have heard the new owner of Mountain Creek, Eugene Mulvihill, who has a big vision for the resort, could pull it off.

Then, get the New Jersey Devils involved in that Northwest corner that often goes ignored PR-wise (co-owner Jeff Vanderbeek did not stop here on his summer Jersey Tour) and you may have something.

If not high school, make it college teams like Princeton, Seton Hall, William Paterson, Rutgers, Monmouth, Rowan, TCNJ or Rider. Men's and Women's games.

Hot chocolate, revived roasted chestnut stands, a guest announcer like Glenn "Chico" Resch and ice hockey outside - the way it was meant to be played.

New Jersey as a winter sports paradise? Add it to the tourist books.

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