CHICAGO – Two years after getting its first taste of outdoor hockey, the Miami University hockey team will return to the Windy City for the 2015 Coyote Logistics Hockey City Classic.
A big National Collegiate Hockey Conference rivalry resumes on Saturday, Feb. 7, when Miami takes on Western Michigan at Soldier Field, home to the National Football League’s Chicago Bears. That game is part of an outdoor doubleheader that also features Michigan and Michigan State, former conference foes of the RedHawks and Broncos in the days of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
Miami served as host of the 2013 Hockey City Classic, facing Notre Dame on the outdoor rink. This time around, it’s Western Michigan that serves the honor of hosting the event. The RedHawks’ contest against the Broncos will replace their Jan. 30 tilt in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“This is a great opportunity for us to play in such a historic stadium in a city with a lot of both Miami University alumni and Miami Hockey alumni,” said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. “We are grateful for the opportunity and look forward to playing one of our big rivals in Western Michigan. This was a tremendous experience for us two years ago and we are happy to return in February.”
“For nearly 30 years, Intersport’s heritage has been creating unique experiences that engage passionate audiences,” said Drew Russell, Vice President of Properties for Intersport. “We are dedicated to the art of developing experiences like this fantastic collegiate outdoor hockey double-header. Coyote is a fanatical supporter of Chicago, its local community, employees and student-athletes across the country.”
The inaugural Hockey City Classic – the first hockey games ever played at Soldier Field – attracted more than 52,000 fans in 2013. In addition, more than 100,000 people attended the 80 events that made up the Hockey City Classic Winter Festival, an 18-day celebration at Soldier Field. The 2015 Festival will include open and corporate skates, hockey clinics, exhibition matches and exclusive hospitality events. This partnership is another foray for Coyote’s sports marketing initiatives – they also sponsor the Coyote Chicago Mission, one of the country’s top Tier 1AAA Hockey Clubs.
This game also represents an opportunity for the seven Illinois natives on Miami's roster to play near their home fans, including junior goaltender Ryan McKay.
"Any time you can play in your home city, especially outdoors in the largest venue in Chicago, you look forward to it,” McKay said. "Last time around it was a great experience, especially from a family standpoint since we could take in the venue a day before the game. I believe the experience that we have from two years ago will help us against a tough opponent in Western Michigan as we battle for three important points in the NCHC standings."
Coyote Logistics – a Crain’s Fast Fifty company the last three years – has a long history of hiring former college athletes. It also holds an annual intramural ice hockey tournament called the Coyote Cup. A handful of employees who have played in the Cup played college hockey, including at all four schools committed to the 2015 Classic.
Miami is the only team in the 2015 edition to have played in the Classic before. The four teams combined have amassed 12 total NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championships and 78 total NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament appearances. Game times and broadcast details for the 2015 Coyote Logistics Hockey City Classic will be announced at a later date.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public in October. Miami fans are encouraged to purchase tickets through the Miami Athletic Ticket Office (513-529-4295). Visit hockeycityclassic.com for additional information. Fans also can follow the Coyote Logistics Hockey City Classic on Twitter @HkyCityClassic and on Facebook at facebook.com/HockeyCityClassic.
Coach Blasi on Hockey City Classic