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NHL Commissioner ‘Intrigued’ By Possibility of Beaver Stadium Hockey Game

An outdoor hockey game at Beaver Stadium may be coming, but likely not any time too soon.

According to TribLive Sports, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has discussed the idea, and is “intrigued” by the possibility.

“There’s been talk about it,” he said at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. “But it’s not anywhere close to fruition.”

As we wrote a month ago, it’s time to bring a professional hockey game to Beaver Stadium. Geographically in between two rabid hockey fan bases, a Winter Classic in the state’s center seems not only appropriate, but almost necessary. Hockey is booming business in State College this year, and has arguably surpassed basketball in popularity, not to mention success.

But, of course, there are numerous hurdles that should hinder this possibility from becoming a reality.

The most obfuscating of those is the fact that Beaver Stadium does not own a liquor license, and hockey fans like to drink. A year ago, Bernie Punt, the Jordan Center’s director of sales and marketing, said “it’s very possible” that Beaver Stadium could obtain temporary liquor licenses, like Michigan did when it hosted the Winter Classic.

Furthermore, Beaver Stadium is essentially shut down in the winter months, as it turns off pipes and water. The Winter Classic is hardly a single-game affair, but a multi-event spectacle including youth games and charity endeavors before the game itself.

Onward State reached out to Bettman and the NHL’s public relations department several months ago, but have yet to hear back.

Before he left for the Buffalo Sabers, director of hockey development and major player in the team’s journey to Division I, Joe Battista, along with Punt, had dreamed of making the Winter Classic a reality. With an interested NHL commissioner, it seems like now is the time to make their dreams a reality.

Photo: Zach Berger

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Ben Berkman

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