Saturday, 21 January 2012

Outdoor Beauty

Hamilton's Ivor Wynne Stadium was home to a pretty good game today. Not a CFL football game, mind you, but an AHL game between the hometown Hamilton Bulldogs and the visiting Toronto Marlies. The game was, in my opinion, a great display of AHL hockey as the two teams battled in a North Division contest, and the fans in Hamilton turned out in a big way to watch the AHL's Battle of Ontario write another chapter in its history. While the end result wasn't exactly an edge-of-your-seat outcome, the action on the ice should give hope to fans of both the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The temperature at game time was a balmy -4C (25F), and both teams enjoyed the warmer winter weather while playing a solid game. It looked like this game might be dominated by the fourth-place Bulldogs when Dany Masse scored just 27 seconds into the game. But the first-place Marlies roared back, controlling the game from that point on. The 7-2 Marlies win was more of a blowout than anything, but the largest crowd to ever watch an AHL game in Canada - 20,565 fans - went home happy after a great game.

If you happened to catch the game or viewed the picture linked above, you may have noticed that the Hamilton Bulldogs looked a little different than they normally do. Hamilton wore these uniforms for the game, and they looked pretty good. I can't really find fault with anything on these jerseys, but the use of the cream colour for "vintage" jerseys is starting to wear thin. White in the sunlight looks pretty darn good, and I wish that teams would start using white again when given the option for a special jersey.

In any case, here are the highlights in six minutes of the game at Ivor Wynne today. The AHL Outdoor Classic is a great AHL event, and I really hope they'll continue to use these games to build momentum for the AHL. Having watched the Manitoba Moose for a long time, I am a true fan of the AHL and I really think that this league deserves more credit for the stars they are developing. Here are the highlights!

That Joe Colborne goal that made it 5-2? That's a big reason why the Leafs should be excited about him. That was a big-league goal scored by one of the better defencemen in the AHL this season. That setup by Matt Frattin was pretty good as well - perhaps a sign that his time spent with the Leafs has already made him a better player.

Congratulations to the people of Hamilton on hosting a fabulous event, and for setting the record that all future games will look to eclipse when it comes to attendance! I really enjoyed the game on television, and I can only hope to get to an Outdoor Classic one day in the future!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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