Sports Canucks

NHL game-ready for Vancouver Classic 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Vancouver Canuck Daniel Sedin shoots the puck across the field during  a photo op at BC Place in Vancouver on Thursday December 5, 2013. The Vancouver Canucks host the Ottawa Senators in the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on Sunday, March 2, 2014. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

Vancouver Canuck Daniel Sedin shoots the puck across the field during a photo op at BC Place in Vancouver on Thursday December 5, 2013. The Vancouver Canucks host the Ottawa Senators in the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on Sunday, March 2, 2014. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

A week after unveiling what the players will wear, the NHL gave fans and media alike a glimpse of what the venue for the 2014 Heritage Classic will look like later this season on Thursday.

Last week, the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks showed off their jerseys in the nation's capital ahead of the much-anticipated March 2 clash.

This time, the focus was on BC Place Stadium — decked with a makeshift rink layout placed under the opened, retractable roof, which allowed the chilly West Coast weather to numb most of those in attendance.

It was a fitting portrayal of what to expect.

The build-up to the event is well on its way as Vancouver will become only the third Canadian team to host the Classic. The stadium will hold about 55,000 fans for the game as tickets went on sale to the public Thursday.

Already, the excitement is mounting.

"I know the game is still a couple months away but you look at the way it's decorated, and you picture the rink in the middle," said Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa at the press conference. "It's going to be really loud in here … and I look forward to playing in it."

The NHL has had its fair share of outdoor games over the past few seasons, and certain lessons carry over — including the need to improve ice conditions during these affairs.

"Every year we learn a little more and make additional investments to make sure we can do it," NHL chief operating officer John Collins said. "This year we're going to buy a another additional ice system — so we'll have two of them — to do all the games that we need to do.

"It's a big effort. When you come here … and see the reactions from the players, and if you've been to any events in the past when the players come out and the fireworks are going and the audience is screaming, it's an unbelievably majestic sort of experience that players and fans will remember for the rest of their lives.

"That's the thing that drives us."

A clip from the NHL Revealed behind-the-scenes series was also shown on the big screen at BC Place, which focused on the Canucks' visit to Ottawa last week. The highlight was a prank played on Vancouver forward Dale Weise where one of his teammates hid his helmet, causing him to nearly be late for practice.

It's all part of the hype leading up to the big game.

"There's a lot of personalities that you guys don't see," forward Ryan Kesler said. "It's just cool to get a behind-the-scenes look to the jokes we play and how we act towards one another, and what we go through on a daily basis."

As for the challenges to playing outdoors in Vancouver, Roberto Luongo didn't miss a beat.

"An umbrella on top of the net?" the goalie said with a laugh.

 

 

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