Monday, February 21, 2011

WHL scores TD with Outdoor Game

A Day after the NHL held it's Heritage Classic, the WHL took over McMahon Stadium, and like so many times, a Saskatchewan team beat a Calgary squad. The Regina Pats blew a 2 goal lead, only to win it on a 3rd period 2 on 1 goal from 17 year old Dyson Stephenson set up by his brother Chandler.

Monday's WHL game was better then the NHL game on Sunday as the weather cooperated and the ice conditions made it easier to score a couple of hilite reel goals. 20,888 fans watched this one, setting a new CHL attendance record. Guy has argued on our show that "the outdoor game" has lost it's shine, but couple the WHL attendance record with more then 41,000 at the NHL game it shows you that it's still relevant.

One of the few problems I had with the weekend was that the NHL seemed to completely ignore the junior game in all of it's promotion. One WHL executive I spoke with at McMahon felt the same, and thought it was strange that one of the biggest suppliers of players was in the shadow so much.

Daren Millard, our NHL insider from Rogers Sportsnet told us Saturday morning that Tim Horton's has signed a 4 year deal as title sponsor of the outdoor game with the NHL. I think the CHL needs to be on board for each game. I tweeted Sunday that maybe Winnipeg should get an outdoor game as a neutral site affair. The Brandon Wheat Kings could easily piggy back a weekend at Winnipeg Stadium.

As we've reported many times in the past, the league wanted to host one in Regina at Taylor Field during the World Junior Championship 2 years ago, and there have been rumblings that the Oil Kings might be interested in playing one at TELUS field where the Edmonton Capitals play.

Here's hoping the CHL outdoor game continues. We'll have much more on the subject this Tuesday 7-9 pm mst on the TEAM 1260 in Edmonton or online

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