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The Winter Classic at the Death Star? The horror!!

A few months ago I wrote an article on my old blog about the possibility of a Winter Classic being held at Cowboys Stadium. The post was based on some murmurs that the Cowboys had talked with NHL officials at a possible outdoor hockey game, although those inquiries had never been truly confirmed. Until now.

Speaking with Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas, Jerry Jones confirmed that he had indeed been in talks about a possible Winter Classic at his own stadium.

Jones said he’s talked to NHL officials about hosting the annual Winter Classic outdoor game. Boston’s Fenway Park was home to the Philadelphia Flyers-Boston Bruins game on New Year’s Day, and previous Winter Classics have been played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.

“We could obviously do something like that,’ Jones said. “We’ve had communication with the NHL.”

Hmm. Thoughts after the jump.

“Something like that” are the key words here. Obviously, a lot would have to happen for a big outdoor hockey game to be held in Dallas, although it most likely wouldn’t exactly be “outdoor”. Cowboys Stadium can be a perfectly climate-controlled indoor stadium, so keeping the ice in good condition shouldn’t be a factor.

The issue is whether there would actually be enough interest to warrant the game. Since I’m not a big fan of repeating myself, I’ll just quote what I said back in January.

Then the matter of the fans comes into play. For a game like this, you could potentially get 80,000 hockey fans into the Stadium. But where would these fans come from? Past games have featured rivalry matchups between two teams that are geographically close; Chicago vs. Detroit, Philly vs. Boston. Even Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh had some matchup appeal to it. Who would Dallas face that would promise to get opposing fans into the Stadium? San Jose? Anaheim? I think for a game this big, you’d see a good turnout of Dallas Stars fans but not enough to fill Cowboys Stadium. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but the NHL is going to want to ensure a sellout for a game that big. And they’re going to want a rowdy, loud crowd.

There’s also the small issue that the Cotton Bowl is held at Cowboys Stadium now, every New Year’s Day. This just happens to be the traditional day that the NHL holds the Winter Classic. So there’s a matter of either moving the Winter Classic, or having a separate game at Cowboys Stadium.

As incredible as it would be to see 100,000 fans watching hockey in Texas, you have to admit that it just wouldn’t be the same. The Classic is supposed to be a reminder of pond hockey, the origins of the sport and how kids grew up playing the game in their backyard.

Hockey is working in Texas, there’s no doubt about that. And that’s incredible all on it’s own. But the Winter Classic in Dallas? Just doesn’t sound....right.