MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - TCF Bank Stadium will hold an outdoor doubleheader Friday afternoon at the Hockey City Classic, featuring the Minnesota Gophers men's and women's hockey teams.
The men's team took to the ice late Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday's game. It was also a chance to see the ice at nightfall, checking out the sight lines under the lights.
Coach Dan Lucia says there will be one other element in play that's a bit more distracting than the waning sunlight.
"We're just trying to get ready for Ohio State, and the weather's going to be what it is. The most important thing is as long as it's not snowing too hard. The wind is more of an issue than anything else," Lucia said. "I mean, if it's five above, you just dress for it. The guys playing, I don't know if they notice it as much. For coaches it might be a little bit colder."
The Gophers are old pros when it comes to outdoor hockey, having played at Soldier Field in Chicago a year ago in a loss to Wisconsin. Gophers forward Seth Ambroz Jr. says he and the team are looking forward to the chance of an outdoor victory.
"I know it'll be a good experience for everyone, and it should be a lot of fun for us and hopefully come out on top this year," Ambroz Jr. said. "Obviously last year we fell short, but still a good experience, and now it will be nice to go out in front of, you know, about 50,000 Minnesota fans."
For the women's team, the excitement is still building. Gophers senior forward Kelly Terry says even though there's work to be done, she can't help but be caught up in all the hoopla.
"The outdoor game is just going to be so exciting. And you see it all over Twitter and Facebook and everything," Terry said. "It's hard to avoid and it's hard not to be excited for it."
On a side note, the Minnesota Wild and the NHL are no doubt keeping a close eye on what's been happening at The Bank during the past week.
The Wild, who've been long denied in their quest to hold the Winter Classic, are hoping the outdoor venue in Stadium Village could help break the ice.
The puck drops for the women's game against Minnesota State at 4:30 p.m., and the men play Ohio State at 8 p.m.
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