by Patrick Hoffman on 01/07/11 at 11:00 AM ET
One great thing about the NHL Winter Classic is that it grabs the attention of the non-hockey fan.
A perfect example of this is Evan Roberts of WFAN Sports Radio in New York. Evan is the co-host of the Joe (Joe Benigno) and Evan Show, a show that typically talks about baseball, basketball and football while talking about hockey may be every once in awhile.
Evan was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk about how he got into watching the Winter Classic, his thought’s on this year’s game and what the NHL can do to make it even better.
PH: How did you get interested in the NHL’s Winter Classic?
ER: When they announced the idea of an outdoor regular season NHL game, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. So like many others, I tuned in because of the curiosity factor. The fact that it snowed during the first game in Buffalo only made an interesting event even more so. I have watched everyone (despite the weather not being as perfect every time) since.
PH: How do you think the Winter Classic helps increase the popularity of hockey?
ER: Because it shows off the game to many who never sit down and watch regular season hockey. My sister, who is not a sports fan, even watches it. Much like the Olympics attracts more viewers, the Classic does the same.
PH: What made this year’s Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals so interesting? Do you think it would have been as big if Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin were not playing?
ER: I thought the rain was an interesting element, but besides the outdoor factor having the two biggest stars in the sports squares off really helped. Everyone, including non hockey fans knows who Sidney Crosby is, so that was a big draw.
PH: What do you think the NHL can do to make the Winter Classic even better?
ER: Obviously they can’t cause snow to fall, but that certainly adds intrigue to the game. Maybe having a Classic in other legendary locals could help as well. Though there isn’t a local team, having a classic at Lambeau Field would be very cool.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.