Since the end of the NHL Lockout Hockey has increased its popularity in the US. After the lockout the NHL reloaded with new rule changes, and the emergence of the Crosby/Ovechkin rivalry. But the biggest change to the NHL is the annual outdoor game. The first game, “The Heritage Classic” in Edmonton was met with sceptism. It was held outside in a football stadium, in subzero temperatures but people came out in flocks and it’s a bigger television event in the US than the Stanley Cup final.
The Outdoor game was nastologic for some since it was outside and brought memories of pond hockey back. For others the excitement was created from having world class athletes battle in outdoor elements. There is a mystique in the outdoors where there freedom from modern technology. In the outdoors people are able to explore the unknown and escape civilization.
“There are no words that can telll the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melanchoy, and its charm” Theodore Roosevelt
Life in the outdoors is simple, there is no urban jungle and people are more active outside. Being outside gives you the opportunity to do what you want rather than being chained to your job.
Another lure to the outdoors is the green movement. Cities are spralling out and it’s more difficult to find green space and untouched wilderness. Our natural treasures are at risk and outdoor places are no longer are constant unchanged places that will never change. Our natural resources are at peril and we are finding new ways of measuring its economic development. No longer is the dwindling outdoors is viewed as an empty area ready for development.
The outdoors offers great value in tourism and as a place for recreation. The outdoors immense value is that its a place where we can play which makes it a tourist destination for others. Also we have a moral obligation to protect our heritage and its part of our national identity. Canada is known more for our wilderness than any man-made buildings such as the CN Tower or the Conferederation Bridge. Most important of all the outdoors re-energizes us and allows us to move forward.
“Like most people I can by lazy, so its’ nice to have a goal or deadline or reason to work out. I feel better when I get to exercise, or when I’m outdoors.” Viggo Mortensen (star of the Lord of the Rings films which exploited the scenery of New Zealand’s)
Hockey-Canada’s undisputed national pastime has struggled in the past two decades. Canada lost Gretzky being moved to LA and one of FOX’s experiments was the glowing puck. Hockey has attempted to change to compete with bigger sports but has failed. The world’s biggest sport-soccer is player outside. In the US the two biggest sports Baseball and Football are played outside. When the NHL went outside for the Heritage and Winter Classics they weren’t just a novelty. They were sold out in bigger outdoor stadiums and received higher ratings than the Stanley Cup. Unlike the All-Star game there is a big demand for cities to host the outdoor game and they are bidding for the chance to host a Winter Classic. When the NHL went outside it was able to capture the same magic that the outdoor sports have which why the Winter Classics have been such a success.