- Scott Powers, Reporter
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday he hoped his team would get the chance to play an outdoor game at Soldier Field in the future.
Quenneville and the Blackhawks skated Saturday with the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program on the rink at Soldier Field. The experience stirred memories for Quenneville and his team of playing in the NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009.
“That was the coolest experience in all my hockey games or career playing, coaching – the Winter Classic,” Quenneville said. “Being outside again gives you that feeling. I see that (Hockey City) Classic sign on the wall. It’d be nice to see that again.
“It’d be great (to play at Soldier Field.) This is a great venue. Coming to Bears games here, the crowd, it’s perfect.”
Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp also expressed an interest in playing in another outdoor game.
“It was the highlight of my career, one of them,” Sharp said. “It was a lot fun being out here again today. I think the fans get a kick out of it. I see you guys shivering. It’s a little cold watching the game. I know we’re fine out there playing. But I think it’s great for the league, and the players love doing it.”
The ice rink at Soldier Field has been opened since Feb. 1 and has been host to the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic Winter Festival, which has included public skates, clinics and high school games. The featured event is a college hockey doubleheader with Miami (Ohio) vs. Notre Dame and Minnesota vs. Wisconsin on Sunday.
"We don't view this particular event as a one-time opportunity," Intersport sports properties vice president Drew Russell said earlier in February. “We can bring other teams like Michigan, Michigan State or Western Michigan or North Dakota, who travel well. It could certainly pave the way to what a great venue Soldier Field would be for the Winter Classic in the NHL."
The NHL has held five Winter Classics since 2008. It was cancelled due to the NHL lockout this season. It’s schedule to be played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. next season.
13hJeff Gold and Ben Arledge