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

“My dad always built a rink outside our house and we’d go out there and play pipe. I shot the puck [once] and it went off the crossbar, came back and hit my brother in the face. That was the end of him showing off his skating skills. He went back to putting the [goalie] pads on outdoors. We went old-school, socks on our heads, so no face protection.”

Freshman defenseman Jake Bischoff

“Looking around up in Grand Rapids and just seeing everyone there bundled up [for Minnesota Hockey Day 2013]. … It was like a blizzard and really cold. … It was probably 30- or 40-miles per hour wind gusts. … Skating into the wind you could barely move at times.”

Senior forward Nate Condon

“We had a hockey rink about a mile or so away and my brothers and I would always walk over to it. We always had to carry goalie pads, skates and everything ’cause it was always one forward, one defenseman and one goalie. My parents would drive over and picks us up, thankfully, ’cause we wouldn’t have been able to make it back.”

Associate head coach Mike Guentzel

“Going home from school as fast as I could to change and go to the outdoor rink and get there for sunlight. I just loved that every day. I’d go down two blocks to the city rink and if it needed to be shoveled, we’d shovel. If not, we’d just drop the puck and play. … I’d go home at 5:30 for dinner and be right back there at 6:30. For me that was a ritual every day.”



 

  • 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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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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