Why Soldier Field and not Wrigley for hockey?

  • Soldier Field officials are crossing their fingers that they can cost a Blackhawks game, like Wrigley Field did in 2009.
Soldier Field officials are crossing their fingers that they can cost a… (Jamie Squire/Getty Images )
February 13, 2013|By Matt Lindner | For RedEye

It's too soon to start playing "Chelsea Dagger" in the South Loop, but with all the excitement over this weekend's college hockey games, officials aren't ruling out the possibility of hosting a Blackhawks Winter Classic game at Soldier Field.

After all, a guy can dream, right?

"We'd love to have them," Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour said. "Obviously they've got a great relationship with Wrigley too. It's always our dream and the Blackhawks are such great partners with the city of Chicago. We'd like to see them here someday, but we'll see."

This weekend's Office Max Hockey City Classic will mark the first hockey games ever played in the 89-year-old stadium's illustrious history.

Officials with event promoter Intersport say they chose Soldier Field over Wrigley and U.S. Cellular Field for a number of reasons.

"I think it was more of a capacity thing than anything else," said Drew Russell, Intersport vice president of sports properties. "We knew we were going to bring in four premier teams with alumni bases of more than 10,000 living here in Chicago. All are within driving distance, so we knew that we wanted to have something that could hold 60,000 people."

Those seats aren't expected to be empty either, based on current ticket sales, which number almost 55,000.

"The fact that we almost have a full stadium for this thing a week out is an indication that this has legs," Russell said prior to the high school games at Soldier Field on Saturday. "It all depends on the matchups that we could potentially bring here in the future."

There's also the issue of stadium configuration.

Russell said Soldier Field's current seating setup is more hockey-friendly than Wrigley's proved during the 2009 Winter Classic.

"From a sightline standpoint, it's so much better than doing it in a baseball stadium for this," he said.

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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