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Volume 24 No. 179

Events and Attractions

The Senators on Saturday "capped off a weekend of festivities" with a 3-0 win against the Canadiens at the NHL 100 Classic outdoor game "in front of 33,959 fans at TD Place," according to Lisa Wallace of the CP. The temperature at puck drop was about 12 ℉ and "dropped throughout the game" to -13 with wind chill, but it was an "experience that won't soon be forgotten." Senators RW Bobby Ryan said, "That's the coldest I've ever been. The fans came out and made it a heck of a night by being loud and being engaged and when the home team gets two points and the city can rally around it for a great event makes it all the better. It was worth every second of it. We had a blast" (CP, 12/16). Senators C Jean-Gabriel Pageau said, "It was awesome. The atmosphere was crazy from the warmup to the last second of the third." In Ottawa, Ken Warren wrote it "was cold as hell," and the temperature during the third period was "bone-chilling." It was the "second coldest outdoor game ever, trailing only the first-ever contest" between the Oilers and Canadiens in '03 (OTTAWA SUN, 12/17). Also in Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch wrote,"Give the people of Ottawa credit, they know how to party." The NHL "sold out the stadium and even added extra seats at the end." Garrioch: "You have to give those who showed up credit for sitting through the temperatures because this was a lot colder than the Grey Cup" (OTTAWA SUN, 12/17). Ryan said of the temperatures, "I was like, 'This building is going to empty out' when I figured out how cold it was in the first 10 minutes." The SUN's Garrioch writes people of Ottawa should be given "credit for braving the cold because nobody would have blamed them if they headed for the exits early" (OTTAWA SUN, 12/18).

GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY: In Ottawa, Wayne Scanlan writes the hockey itself "nearly always suffers from these outdoor spectacles, the NHL game so finely tuned it can’t quickly adapt to quickie-outdoor ice and weather whims." Fans "aren’t well served by these events, either." Beyond the cold, there is the "issue of sight lines." Sit too low and the boards "block views of the puck." From on high, up in the corners of the stands, the game is "pretty much a rumour" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 12/18). In Montreal, Pat Hickey writes outdoor games are "here to stay because they produce lots of revenue for the NHL, and fans like them." Hickey: "But you have to wonder if they are good for the game" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 12/18). Also in Montreal, Stu Cowan wrote Canadiens-Senators was "not a 'classic' game" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 12/17). 

SHOW ON THE ROAD: The SUN's Garrioch wrote the league was also "thrilled with the success of the Senators-Avalanche Global Series in Sweden last month." People should "expect the league to do three overseas events next year -- including having two teams go overseas to start the season -- there can be a triple-header on opening night." Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic and Sweden are the "biggest countries for hockey in Europe, and they’re all possibilities" (OTTAWA SUN, 12/17).

There is "growing concern in some U.S. circles" that North America's bid to host the '26 FIFA World Cup is "not as certain as once thought," according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. Sources said that those involved with the U.S., Canada and Mexico joint bid are "worried many FIFA member countries -- and, by extension, continental voting blocs -- are leaning toward Morocco." FIFA will vote June 13 in Moscow. The questions "stem from a precipitous decline in U.S. popularity around the world and, to a smaller extent, the fact that the American judicial system took the lead in prosecuting FIFA scandals." While the exposure of misconduct has "helped cleanse the sport’s tarnished international governing body, some in world soccer apparently aren’t happy with the U.S. government’s aggressive role." The inclusion of Mexico and Canada "should broaden the bid’s appeal." Morocco "presumably would receive backing from most, if not all, of the other 53 African countries." The North American bid "would likely claim 32 from CONCACAF and, it hopes, 10 from South America." That leaves Europe (55), Asia (46) and Oceania (11) "up for grabs." One "possible, but unlikely, twist: If the 37-member FIFA Council (which replaced the executive committee) doesn’t believe either bid is adequate, the process would reopen to countries in all continents." Goff notes with lobbying efforts accelerating, outgoing U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati was "in the United Arab Emirates this past week for the FIFA Club World Cup" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/18).