Gophers hockey recalls when outside ice was nice

Gophers coaches and players all have fond memories of skating outdoors growing up.

 

The last time we saw Gophers hockey captains Nate Condon and Kyle Rau at TCF Bank Stadium, they were sporting shorts and flip flops. They’ll be layered up a little more than that when they return to the field-turned-rink on Friday night.

On a warm, sunny September day, the Gophers athletic staff gathered on the turf to announce big-time outdoor hockey would return to Minnesota. That return comes with the Hockey City Classic on Friday at the transformed — and frozen — TCF Bank Stadium.

The cold, crisp outdoor elements, however, are preferred by the Gophers. Their memories of playing outside often include a mention of frigid temperatures.

Outdoor hockey is part of the DNA of Gophers hockey. Most of the players and coaches learned to skate in open air. They will revisit those roots for the Gophers’ first outdoor hockey game in the modern era.

“It’s just going to be a lot of fun. I think we’ll have good fan support and it’ll be a good experience for everyone,” Gophers forward Seth Ambroz said. “It’s special to play [outside] in front of your home fans right across the street in TCF.”

Before they make new memories on Friday, the Gophers’ favorite outdoor hockey moments include …

Gophers head coach Don Lucia

“As a youth player, that is how I started to play the game, on outdoor ice. Power-skating, when I grew up, was shoveling off the outdoor rink. Sometimes you didn’t want to wait for the plow, so you had to get out there and get the shovels and get the [snow] to the boards and scoop it over the boards. But that was the fun of it.”

Sophomore defenseman Mike Reilly

“Our house is right next to [a lake] and we have an [ice rink] area out front that we play on. My dad freezes over the sport court. There’s also a bunch of outdoor rinks by our house, so we can drive five minutes and play with our buddies. To look back on playing squirts, peewees, bantams, high school and college [outside], it’s pretty special.”

Sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox

“I grew up around it my whole life. We had three rinks in South St. Paul where I played. We actually had a couple games in squirts and peewees every year outside. … It’s kind of nice to keep the tradition going in each year.”

Senior defenseman Justin Holl

“It’s basically where I learned to skate. I have a ton of memories of Christmas Day [outside] where we play family hockey games. It was right down a hill onto the lake.”

Freshman forward Hudson Fasching

“Maybe peewees or bantams [age], we got 30 or 40 kids from Apple Valley and all went down to the community center and had a huge 4-on-4 tournament. It was like an all-day thing and our parents would run by and bring a huge thing of McDonald’s for all the guys. It was freezing cold. … But it was a great day.”

Junior defenseman Ben Marshall

  • guide: the Hockey City Classic at tcf bank stadium

    guide: the Hockey City Classic at tcf bank stadium

    the games One ticket gets you into both games:

    3:30 p.m.: Gates open.

    4:30 p.m.: Gophers women vs. MSU Mankato

    8 p.m.: Gophers men vs. Ohio State

    Re-entry will be allowed until 8 p.m. To leave the stadium, you must go to Gate E and scan your ticket so you will be allowed back in the stadium.

    at the games

    • The facility will operate under gameday protocol; alcoholic beverages will be sold at concession stands.

    • The video board will display all live game action.

    Parking opens at 2 p.m.

    All surface parking areas on the East Bank campus are sold out. Parking will be available on the West Bank campus and the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. Shuttles from the Fairgrounds will start at 5 p.m. Parking will be available at the Oak Street, Washington Avenue and Church Street ramps.

    Tailgating allowed

    Pregame celebrations will be permitted on East Bank surface lots only, beginning at 2 p.m. and running until midnight.

    weather: dress warm

    Forecast: Cold! Single-digit temps, with “feels like” readings around minus-5.

    A big warming house: Mariucci Arena will be open to fans starting at 2 p.m. Food and drinks (no alcohol) will be for sale. The Gophers women’s game will be broadcast on the video board. Mariucci Arena will close at 8 p.m. There will be no designated warming areas once the men’s game starts.

    JASON GONZALEZ

    VIDEO: Intersport VP Drew Russell explains what it took to bring the Hockey City Classic to Minnesota and TCF Bank Stadium.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
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Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
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Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
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(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
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(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
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Ga Southern
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Washington St
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UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53

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