“Battles on Ice” more like “Battles on Slush”
Traditionally known as the home field in the College Baseball World Series, TD Ameritrade Park hosted a different kind of event this past weekend: an outdoor “Battles on Ice” hockey doubleheader.
It certainly was something new and exciting to see, hockey has been played outdoors on ponds across America—why not bring some of that home-style magic to the collegiate level? So it was set, the Omaha Lancers would face the Lincoln Stars in the first game, and the Fighting Sioux would square off versus the Mavericks in the second game. There was just one problem: where was the ice?
The conditions in Omaha were much more favorable to play baseball than outdoor hockey. At a mild 50 degrees, the ice quickly began to melt as the first game continued. Pretty soon the red and blue lines on the ice were melting and the puck could barely move across the slushy surface of the rink.
Lancers defensemen Tucker Poolman had a great deal to say about the playing conditions.
“It was pretty slushy,” Poolman said. “I’ve never played on anything like that. Everything back home was frozen solid. That was quite an experience.”
Still, Poolman did find the whole experience an enjoyable one.
“I’ll never forget it. It was awesome. Obviously the weather was a little iffy but it was unreal — a once in a lifetime experience” Poolman said.
While the playing conditions were certainly less than ideal, and the game could hardly be considered a practical event, there was still a great deal to take away from the experience of watching hockey outdoors and in a baseball stadium no less. Omaha blogger, Tom Shatel, had a great time watching the Lancers in TD Ameritrade park.
“I loved it. It was fascinating and surreal to sit outside and watch a hockey game in a large stadium… It was absolutely different. It was downright cool.” Shatel wrote.
Will it happen again? With the right conditions perhaps we may see another “battle on ice,” however hockey is much easier to play in the controlled conditions found in an indoor rink than at the mercy of mother nature.