Perhaps buoyed by the success of outdoor hockey games played at venues like The Big House and Fenway Park, Notre Dame could try its hand at hosting the stick-and-puck sport in the shadows of Touchdown Jesus.
After watching his Irish hockey team come away with an outdoor win over Miami of Ohio at Soldier Field in Chicago Sunday (pictured), ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick acknowledged that there have been discussions on bringing a hockey game to Notre Dame Stadium. While no such game will be feasible for the foreseeable future, it appears that hockey at the historic football stadium is a matter of when and not if.
“I think there will be a time and place to do this at Notre Dame Stadium,” Swarbrick said according to the Chicago Tribune. ”It’s not imminent. It’s nothing soon. But doing this once a year is great for the kids. …
“I had talked to the guys at Fenway (Park) about their experience with the Winter Classic – it’s big. It’s a major undertaking. As I say, there’s nothing even remotely planned. But I just think somewhere down the road it’ll make sense for us.”
Dubbed “The Big Chill in the Big House,” the 2010 hockey game featuring Michigan and Michigan State at massive Michigan Stadium was a resounding success. The official attendance for the mid-December game was over 113,000 — nearly 4,000 over the stadium’s official capacity — setting a world record for a hockey game.
With an official capacity of 80,795, a hockey game at Notre Dame Stadium couldn’t match the record attendance figure set at the Big House, but it would have the potential be an additional financial windfall for an athletic department whose bottom line is not exactly hurting.