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NHL Winter Classic Update

For the many hockey fans here, there's news about the Winter Classic, to be played at Wrigley Field on January 1:

"I've heard people are excited," [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman said Wednesday at the UC before the Oilers-Hawks game. "No updates for now, though. A lot of parties are involved -- the Hawks, the Cubs. In the next couple of weeks, things will be finalized. There's no urgency. The game is going to be sold out."

Ticket sales won't be an issue, which explains why the NHL has seemingly dragged its feet on planning for the big game.

"There won't be a massive public sale like the one we had in Buffalo last year, when we used a 72,000-seat facility," Bettman said. "Season-ticket holders for the Hawks will be our first priority."

There are about 14,000 of them at the moment, and Wrigley is expected to seat about 41,000 for the game.

Bettman isn't sure where the rink will be located but suspects it will be in the back part of the infield.

I suck at Photoshop, so if anyone here wants to take this photo and do a rendering of what the rink might look like, go for it; email your Photoshops to me and I'll replace this photo with the best one:

Now, about tickets. How are YOU going to get some, if you want to go? The quote above says there are about 14,000 Blackhawk season ticket holders (that is, incidentally, more than three times what they had last year); the Detroit Free Press reported earlier this month that that the Red Wings would be allotted 5,000 tickets. Let's say the NHL takes 10,000 for itself, sponsors, etc. That'd account for 29,000 of the 41,000 seats. I would hope (mainly because I want to go) -- though there have been no promises made -- that Cub season ticket holders would get access to some, at least through a lottery, and then the rest would be sold to the general public.

This ought to be an exciting event and perhaps the toughest ticket for a regular season game in Chicago history. It will also show us what a video board might look like at Wrigley Field, because the NHL and the Blackhawks intend to put up a temporary board (probably on Waveland) -- they need it, among other things, to keep a visible clock on the game, as the existing Wrigley Field boards (the ones below the main board and the ones on the upper deck) would be pretty small.