The Blackhawks and Red Wings just walked out of the home and visitor dugouts, respectively, and the crowd responded in appropriate fashion to each. The stadium is electric with just over nine minutes to go to the opening face-off.
Northwestern and Northern Illinois University marching bands are stationed in the bleachers, while video montages of Wrigley Field and hockey history play on the boards in left- and rightfield.
I’d say the ratio of Blackhawks winter hats and scarves to Red Wings’ are about five-to-one, no doubt because of all the Blackhawks season ticket holders in attendance.
The fireworks, stadium card stunts (HAPPY NEW YEAR and Red Wings and Blackhawks), F-18 flyover and intros have all made this a spectacle on par with the Super Bowl and WOrld Series. In fact, as I look out at the snow in between my centerfield seat and the rink, I can’t help but wonder if this doesn’t exceed even the best team sporting events in some way.
The wind is strong and swirling the flags, all replaced to be NHL-related ones for today.