We have a tradition in our family (actually I joined the tradition when I got married) of having frybread on New Years Day. It has become one of my favorite days. Usually we'll have frybread and watch meaningless college bowl games that my wife tires of after about 10 minutes. This year it was frybread and hockey watching the Winter Classic.
While I can't say it was a family afternoon of bonding, I truly enjoyed watching the outdoor game in Buffalo while my wife and her mom were busy taking down Christmas decorations. It was snowing at the beginning of the game, sleeting midway, and snowing again at the end. There was snow on the ice, wind in the player's faces, and weather reports throughout the broadcast. It made for a surreal afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect. Even having to watch the Penguins like every other nationally-televised game was not annoying, as they appeared as a different team in baby blue jerseys. It couldn't have been more perfect. Darren Pang and Mike Emmerick, toques, and a shootout with Sidney Crosby winning it on a pretty snow-plow deke. The fans in Buffalo were absolutely awesome, and I realized that even though we in Minnesota like to pride ourselves on the outside hockey experience, we could never pull off putting 75,000 outside to watch an NHL hockey game in 25 degree weather and snow. Metrodome has made us soft.
I can only hope that the NHL was able to pick up a few fringe viewers they so desperately need - the channel surfers that might just get attracted to the game when they see hockey in the snow. The one drawback was the long stoppages to clean the ice and many viewers just may have checked out and gone back to football. I only hope they came back to share in at part of my New Years Day bliss.
Trust me on the frybread.