Sunday, February 17, 2013

2013 Hockey Day in America and the Hockey City Classic

Today is the sixth annual Hockey Day in America and there is plenty of hockey on tap today with events happening from Fairbanks, Alaska to Hartford, Connecticut to Oakland, California.

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The event is a part of Hockey Weekend Across America, which began Friday with "Wear Your Favorite Jersey Day", which we participated in by wearing our 1960 United States Olympic Team jersey from the silver medal winning squad from Squaw Valley.

Saturday was "Try Hockey Day" with approximately 200 rinks nationwide offering opportunities to both youth and adults to sample free clinics on the game.

The theme today is "Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day", during which local communities are encouraged to honor their area hockey heroes.

NBC's coverage of the NHL begins at noon Eastern Time will be based in New York's Central Park and will begin with a triple header of games, beginning with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins traveling to face Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres, which should come as no surprise considering NBC does stand for Nothing But Crosby.

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The second NHL game of the day sees the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter visiting Johnathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City at 3:30, also on NBC.

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Coverage will then move to the NBC Sports Network for Game #3 of the tripleheader, which highlights Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals taking on the host New York Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist at 6 PM.

There's plenty of other games on the NHL schedule in addition to NBC's slate of games, the Ottawa Senators vs. the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers vs. the New York Islanders (both at 1 PM) the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Minnesota Wild, the Boston Bruins vs. the Winnipeg Jets and the Calgary Flames vs. the Dallas Stars (all at 6 PM), the St. Louis Blues vs. the Vancouver Canucks close out the day at 9 PM.

If you missed the fact the Winter Classic wasn't played this year or are a fan of college hockey, then the Hockey City Classic outdoors at the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field is the event for you. The #12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will battle the #3 Miami University Redhawks, both of the CCHA, in the first game at 1 PM est in a game televised on Fox Sports Net, while the second game sees #18, the Wisconsin Badgers facing WCHA arch rivals and the #2 ranked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on the Big Ten Network at 4:30 est.

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All four teams have unveiled special new jerseys for the Hockey City Classic as well. Notre Dame will wear throwback jerseys in the style they originally wore from 1963 to 1968. They are simple, attractive and have stood the test of time extremely well. They are going to look great on the ice and will make for a sharp team photo.

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Anders Lee and Sam Calabrese modeling the Notre Dame throwbacks

Miami University created a brand new jersey with a vintage feel, opting for tan instead of white and a lace-up collar. Unfortunately, they scuttled the entire project by opting for a three color version of their modern (and overly-beveled) current logo instead of reprising their classic block M logo of the past, which would have made a world of difference in the retro look of this jersey, which is really a shame.

One saving grace for this package is the silhouette of the state of Ohio for the captain's "C" in the style used by the NHL's Cleveland Barons for their sleeve numbers back in 1976-77.

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Captain Steven Spinell in Miami's special jersey

Minnesota jerseys are based on those first worn in 1960-61, with "Gophers" diagonally down the front,  a lace-up collar. They also feature a two-color number on the upper left chest and back with the names in white using their current, serifed font, which ties in nicely with the cresting on the front. Overall, a nice looking effort that is faithful to the original style.

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Gopher captain Zach Budish shows off Minnesota's 1960-61 jersey

Wisconsin, who will be participating in their third outdoor game, chose to replicate their simple, effective sweaters they wore back in the 1931-32 season. They have the multiple stripes popular in it's era and, yes, laces are once again present with "Wisconsin" arched in a simple font and one color numbers.

Details include the captain's "C" in a two color circle, the Bob Johnson quote "It's a Great Day for Hockey" inside the collar and a special logo commemorating the Hockey City Classic inside the rear hem and a shoulder patch commemorating the 50th anniversary of the modern era of the Badger program.

Of note, all four teams will wear a Hockey City Classic patch on their jerseys as well.

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John Ramage at Wisconsin's jersey unveiling

With two outdoor college games and the Blackhawks hosting the Kings, Chicago is the place to be today for Hockey Day in America, while fans at home have plenty of NHL and NCAA action to choose between, as their will be no less than five games broadcast nationally today.

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