Capitals win Game 5 to secure first Stanley Cup title

The Capitals captured their first Stanley Cup title by scoring twice in the 3rd and rallying for a 4-3 win against the Golden Knights in Game 5.

Here are the Top 5 gifs.

Caps down Knights, move one win away from taking Cup

Evgeny Kuznetsov collected four assists to help the Capitals to a 6-2 win in Game 4, putting Washington one victory away from the Stanley Cup.

Here are the Top 5 gifs of Game 4.

Game 5 is Friday at 12pm

Capitals win Game 3 to go up 2-1 in Stanley Cup Final

Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist in his return from injury, and the Capitals posted a 3-1 win in Game 3 to take the series lead.

Yeah, I think Kuznetsov’s shoulder/arm/wrist is okay…

Here are the best gifs from Game 3.

Game 4 is 12pm Tuesday.

Caps earn first Cup Final win, even series with Vegas

Lars Eller collected three points and Braden Holtby made a remarkable stick save late in the 3rd to secure a 3-2 win for the Capitals in Game 2.

Ovi scored his first ever Stanley Cup Final goal and the Caps lost Evgeny Kuznetsov to injury.

Here are the Top 5 gifs of Game 2.

Game 3 is 12pm on Sunday.

Golden Knights top Capitals to open Cup Final, 6-4

Viva Las Vegas!!!

Tomas Nosek scored the go-ahead goal in the 3rd and added an empty-netter as the Golden Knights beat the Capitals in a back-and-forth Game 1.

Here are the Top 5 gifs of Game 1.

Game 2 is Thursday 12pm

Captains announced for the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic

Nolan Yonkman and Zenon Konopka have been named as the captains of Team Canada and Team USA respectively.

They will lead their teams as part of the three-game tour taking place this June in Auckland’s Spark Arena, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium for the first large-scale outdoor game in the Southern Hemisphere, plus Queenstown’s Ice Arena.

Team Canada captain, Nolan Yonkman, is a renowned Canadian defenceman who currently plays for JYP of Liiga in the Finnish Elite League. Yonkman played a major role in leading JYP to their first championship of the European Champions League tournament which features the elite teams from the top-tier leagues across Europe.

A renowned leader on and off the ice in the AHL, Yonkman served as team captain for the Adirondack Flames, San Antonio Rampage, and the Milwaukee Admirals on the way to playing over 730 AHL games. Yonkman also played 76 games in the NHL for the Washington Capitals, Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers, and Anaheim Ducks. Yonkman was picked in the second round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Capitals.

Yonkman has thoroughly enjoyed his previous tours with the Ice Hockey Classic and is looking forward to visiting New Zealand in 2018.

“I’m thrilled to once again be a part of the Ice Hockey Classic. As always, I’ll be bringing my A-game and am determined to lead Team Canada to victory,” Yonkman said. “It is exciting to reignite the Canada and USA rivalry, we’re all friends off the ice but once the puck drops it’s a very different story.”

Zenon Konopka hails from St. Catharines, Ontario but with dual residency, the former NHLer has been chosen to lead Team USA.

During his professional career in the NHL that spanned over 300 games, Konopka played for the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres. Konopka was known as one of the toughest players in the league, accumulating over 1,000 penalty minutes.

Konopka can also be seen in the documentary ‘Ice Guardians’ that looks at the role of enforcers in hockey and the impact that position has on the players.

Passionate about bringing the intensity of world-class ice hockey to New Zealand, Konopka is confident in the yet-to-be-announced Team USA line up. “Team Canada is always a formidable opponent but we’re certainly going to put up a fight and make sure our Kiwi fans feel the rivalry on the rink!” Zonopka said.

As well as showcasing high quality hockey full of speed and skill, the Ice Hockey Classic aims to increase education around concussions and the neurotrauma associated with the sport, along with fundraising for the non-profit StopConcussions Foundation that supports the tour.

Tickets for the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic in Auckland are available for purchase now from Ticketmaster, with Wellington and Queenstown tickets available from Ticketek.

‘They traded a first for who?’ The best hits and misses of the NHL Trade Deadline

At the time of publishing we are 24 hours away from the NHL Trade Deadline – the second most wonderful time of the year for NHL fans behind July 1st’s free agency frenzy.

For fans of cellar dwellers it’s a time to gleefully farewell overpaid veterans in favour of shiny new prospects or high draft picks.

For fans of contenders it’s a time to maniacally refresh the transactions pages to see which highly touted prospect your teams GM has just dealt for a former 30-goal scorer that is way over the hill.

For fans of teams with twitchy-on-the-hot-seat GMs, it’s a time to likely rock themselves back and forth in a catatonic state saying “Everything’s fine.”

For everybody else it is a time to sit back, relax and get a good laugh in at the expense of those other fans, or silently become jealous over the incredibly shrewd move a rival GM has just made within the same division.

There have been a lot of memorable deals over the history of the NHL – some blockbusters, some quietly brilliant and some… well some hilariously bad.  As always time is the judge and everything is always better in hindsight so let us take a small journey through some of the hits and misses of NHL trade deadlines of past*

Doug Weight1993 – Edmonton Oilers acquire Doug Weight from the New York Rangers for Esa Tikkanen.

In a rare one-for-one trade and one made on game-day in which the two teams were about to face each other – the Oilers got Doug Weight in his rookie season and he went on to spend the majority of his career with them, helping them make the playoffs but never a championship.

Tikkanen joined the Rangers a year before their infamous Stanley Cup run, reuniting with joining former teammate Mark Messier.

Fun Fact: Tikkanen was traded almost every year between the years 1993 and 1998.  He was almost the OG rental – having departed the Rangers for the Blues in the shortened 1995 season that took place straight after their Stanley Cup run.  Speaking of 1994…

1994 – New York Rangers trade Todd Marchant, Mike Gartner and Tony Amonte to the Edmonton Oilers (Marchant), the Leafs (Gartner) and Blackhawks (Amonte) for Craig MacTavish, Glenn Anderson, Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan.

This was three separate trades but I wanted to put it in here to demonstrate exactly just how badly the Rangers wanted to break that Cup curse.

Marchant (much like Weight the year before) was in his rookie season, he went on to total 498 points in 1195 games over a 21-year career.  Mike Gartner was only two seasons removed from a career high 81-point year, and would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.  Tony Amonte was in his fourth season and had just finished a career high 76-point effort the year previous – he would go on to total 900 points in 1174 games.

The Rangers of course, won the cup that year and made the playoffs in the three years following, but then endured a nine-year drought due to their vastly depleted talent pool.  This is the benchmark case for how to “Bleed your farm dry for the Cup.”

Jim Carey Capitals1997 – Boston Bruins trade Adam Oates, Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet to the Washington Capitals for Jason Allison, Jim Carey, Anson Carter plus a 2nd and 3rd round draft pick.

This trade did not really factor into any Cup defining playoff run – neither of these teams made the playoffs that season.  I just wanted to include it so that I could say “Remember when Jim Carey was a thing?”

The flash-in-the-pan former Calder nominee lit the hockey world on fire in 1994-1995, he followed that up with a Vezina winning season and then… well, he suddenly disappeared.

He went from a 2.26 GAA and .906 SV% in 1996 to 3.82 and .871 the next season.  The Bruins gambled they could return him to his former greatness but yeah, that didn’t happen.  As fate would have it, the two teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs the following year, with the Capitals advancing in six games, going all the way to the Cup Final on the strength of Adam Oates’ performance.

2000 – New Jersey Devils trade Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson to Vancouver for Alexander Mogilny.

Alexander Mogilny had enjoyed two 100+ point seasons but was well and truly entering the twilight years of his career having posted back-to-back 45-point campaigns with the Canucks for the past two years.  Morrison was in his sophomore season, having just completed an impressive 46-point rookie campaign.  Pederson was a throw-in.

It was the kind of Stanley Cup gamble Lou Lamoriello would want to make and one that he usually got right.  Mogilny helped the Devils to their second Cup Championship, scoring 7 points in 23 postseason games including one game winning goal.

ray-bourque-stanley-cup2000 – Boston Bruins trade Dave Andreychuk and Ray Bourque to the Colorado Avalanche for Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson, Brian Rolston and 1st round pick.

This deal did not factor into the playoff outcome for the season in which it was made, but it was the inspiration for the Avalanche obtaining their second Stanley Cup Championship the following year.

Looking back on it now, the Bruins got a tiny bit ripped off as only Brian Rolston really panned out for them.  The first rounder turned into Martin Samuelsson (14 NHL games total, 1 point) while Martin Grenier was unsigned, left to walk and never played a game in a Bruins sweater.  As for Samuel Pahlsson, well if the Bruins had been patient they might have used him in the same capacity that the eventual 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks did but this Ducks fan is glad they did not.

2012 – Los Angeles Kings trade Jack Johnson and a conditional 1st round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter.

Jonathan Quick may have won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP during the Kings first ever Stanley Cup winning run but it was the acquisition of Jeff Carter just a week before the deadline that put them over the top.  Carter totaled 13 points in 20 post-season games, including 3 game-winning goals, he also scored the Cup-winning goal.

Jack Johnson has enjoyed middling success with the Blue Jackets while the conditional pick turned into Marko Dano, who is currently playing for the Winnipeg Jets.

Filip Forsberg2013 – Washington Capitals trade Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for Michael Latta and Martin Erat.

Also known as “the worst trade of the modern era” – hockey analysts are still trying to understand what the hell the Caps were thinking.  As it stands today and as it stood not less than a year after this deal was made, the clear winner was painfully obvious.

Forsberg was playing in Sweden at the time but none the less was a highly touted prospect having totaled 5 points in 6 games as captain for Sweden at the 2012 World Juniors. Hell, he was picked 11th overall just the year before, whilst Erat had compiled 21 points in 36 games during the 2012-2013 season prior to his trade.  True he was a veteran that the Capitals could use in their playoff drive with 10 years of NHL experience to contribute…but really? Martin Erat for Filip Forsberg?

By the way, Michael Latta was included in the trade but was essentially an afterthought grinder.  He hadn’t even cracked the Predators lineup, spending his time with their farm team in Milwaukee before joining the Capitals in the trade, scoring 17 points in 113 games over three seasons.  He is now back in the AHL, currently playing for the Devils farm team after a trade from the Coyotes organisation.

Erat meanwhile was traded to the Coyotes a year after the Forsberg deal and has since returned to the Czech Republic.  The Capitals have nothing left to show for the trade and the Predators have built upon the young Swedish phenom.

2014 – New York Rangers trade 2014 conditional 2nd round pick (converted to 1st) and 2015 1st round pick and Ryan Callahan to Tampa Bay for Martin St. Louis.

Say what you will about the Rangers but they know how to roll the dice at the deadline like none other – except perhaps the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Martin St. Louis was upset at his ice-time being reduced in Tampa Bay and felt he had more to give.  He was subsequently dealt at the deadline but he did not go cheap.  Lightning GM Steve Yzerman obtained a Kings Ransom in the form of a 1st Rounder, a potential 1st Rounder (which was in fact the case after the Rangers made the Eastern Conference Final) and serviceable top 6 forward Ryan Callahan.

The gamble almost paid off for the Rangers.  After they were down 3 games to 1 to the Penguins in their second round series, St. Louis heard the news that his mother had suddenly passed from a heart attack.  The entire team rallied behind him and the blue shirts went on an explicable run to the Stanley Cup Finals only to fall to the evil Los Angeles Kings in 5 games (like seriously the dudes mom died, you already won a Cup like 2 years ago).  Meanwhile the 2nd rounder turned into a first and was flicked to the Islanders for two 2nd rounders in 2014 (Dominik Masin and Jonathan MacLeod), the Islanders picked Josh Ho-Sang with the first.  The 2015 1st rounder ended up with the Islanders as well and became Anthony Beauvillier because apparently Tampa Bay at the time wasn’t that keen on 1st round picks.

Anaheim Ducks v Philadelphia Flyers2015 – Anaheim Ducks trade William Karlsson, Rene Bourque & a 2015 2nd round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for James Wisniewski and a 2015 3rd round pick.

I couldn’t hate on the Kings without pointing out my own favourite team GM’s possibly worst trade of his career.  Rene Bourque was a salary dump through and through, but the price for giving up the offensive defenseman with an edge – Wisniewski; was the young Swedish center William “Wild Bill” Karlsson.

Karlsson had been coveted by Ducks scouts – in fact he was the one they desired the most of off their picks that 2011 draft (one in which they took Rickard Rakell, John Gibson and Josh Manson to name a few) which makes it all the more puzzling as to why GM Bob Murray was so willing to part with him to acquire Wisniewski who then went on to play zero playoff games, yes that’s right, zero; before leaving that following summer for Carolina.

Karlsson meanwhile is now the second leading scorer with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and is shaping up to be their franchise number one centre.  Both draft picks have not amounted to much as yet, however the 3rd rounder the Ducks acquired has been making a tiny bit of noise in the NCAA quite recently, whilst the 2nd rounder for the Blue Jackets is still in Sweden putting up average point totals.

And that is where I will end this delve into the brief history of trade deadline acquisitions that are both good and abjectly terrible. I wish you well in your mental health over the next 24 hours and can only offer the following advice: Things could be worse, right? Unless you are a Senators fan – in which case, maybe jump on the Vegas bandwagon while you can still be considered an early adopter.

*I didn’t go further back than the 90s because…just because.

Let us know in the comments any trades that you feel I have left off – and there are many I am fully aware.

PUCK YEAH 35: Quack, Quack, Quack!

Plus we look at the performance of Adam Henrique since being traded to Anaheim. Let’s be honest, it’s approximately 85% Ducks chat – with honourable mention to the Junior Ice Blacks who are currently in Bulgaria for the IIHF Under-20 Division 3 World Championship.

Puck Yeah is a weekly hockey podcast produced in Auckland, New Zealand. Subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, or with your favourite podcast app to get every episode free.

T.J. Brennan first player tipped for the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic

As heard on this week’s edition of Puck Yeah Podcast, the first player set to be announced as part of the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic is defenceman T.J. Brennan.

The New Jersey native currently plays for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League and will provide a strong scoring presence for the USA team that will play against Canada this June in Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown.

As a player who has previously come down to Australia for this tour, organiser Kerry Goulet was excited to have T.J. involved again, calling him “an unbelievable hockey player.” Brennan’s stats and accomplishments can definitely back that up. In 2014 and 2016 he won the Eddie Shore Award as the best defenceman in the league. For that 2015-16 season with the Toronto Marlies, he was scoring close to a point per game pace with 25 goals and 43 assists in 69 games – that led the team in scoring while also being tied for third in league scoring, a rare feat for a player of his position.

Brennan is considered to be an elite offensive defenceman at the AHL level and was recently announced in the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic rosters for the fifth consecutive year.

As the AHL affiliate to the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are currently second in the Atlantic Division with a 23-12-5 record. Brennan is in the final year of his current two-year deal with the Flyers. At age 28, with his offensive skills from the blueline he could still provide a much-needed scoring boost to many NHL/AHL teams looking to bolster their lineup either at the Feburary 26 trade deadline or for the 2018-19 season.

tj-brennan-wolf-pack-at-phantoms-11-26-16-albumIn an interview with RadioSport Breakfast yesterday Kerry Goulet revealed that David Hanson (from Slapshot fame) will be the coach for the American team. The remainder of the USA and Canada team rosters for the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic are scheduled to be announced within the next couple of weeks.

Puck Yeah is a weekly hockey podcast produced in New Zealand. Subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, or with your favourite podcatcher to get every episode free.

(Photos sourced from Phantomshockey.com)

PUCK YEAH 33: Winter Olympics Is Coming

0:00 – Hockey at the Winter Olympics: Rosters are getting announced but do we really care about the men’s tournament without NHL players?

06:16 – How can we get a more diverse range of hockey nations competing at the Winter Olympics?

09:31 – Poor Team USA and what could’ve been according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.

14:40 – Resorting to watching the World Juniors tournament illegally because apparently no one cares outsides of North America or Europe and isn’t broadcasted on New Zealand TV.

18:47 – The 2018 NHL All-Star roster selections and our frustrations with the league’s ‘need’ to have every team to be represented that leaves out much better players.

29:12 – Joe’s crazy concept for a new event at the NHL All-Star skills competition.

29:55 – An update on the Puck Yeah fantasy hockey league.

33:45 – The quality of hockey commentators for the Winter Olympics

35:48 – A short ‘rusty’ story of Logan trying to get his Sky TV signal fixed.

38:28 – A quick wrap of what we did over the Christmas/New Years break.

40:58 – New Zealand’s Secret Santa that’s done through Twitter and the amazing gift Logan got.

44:30 – The death of all other hockey podcasts is here, we welcome the arrival of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek – just don’t forget about us!

(Main photo: Chung Sung-Jun, IOC)

Two Pigeons: The 2018 NHL All-Stars

Welcome to Two Pigeons, where Logan and Joe from Puck Yeah Podcast look at what’s happening in the hockey world and set each other up for a few takes, because they can’t score on their own. Kakaw, kakaw!

First up: the 2018 NHL All-Stars. With the All-Star Weekend coming up later this month the rosters were announced earlier today.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

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Logan: Tampa Bay play hosts this year and they’re the hottest team in the league, it’s only fitting that four of their players feature here – it’s just scary that Kucherov, Stamkos, Hedman and Vasilevskiy are in the same team, never mind there’s also Tyler Johnson and Vladislav Namestnikov. But by having four elected, others have to miss out. Namely Mitch Marner. The Son of Marleau struggled early on in the season but his recent play shows how dangerous he is carrying the puck with confidence.

Also, is Carey Price there on name alone? Montreal are having a mediocre year backed up by equally average goaltending from their starter: 13-14-2 record, 2.89 GAA, .911 SV%, 1 shutout – the worst of the 2018 All-Star goalies. Tuukka Rask is more deserving, but the NHL needs someone from the Canadiens represented so that’s that.

Joe: First of all I want to say how much I hate this stupid every team must be represented bullshit. It’s lame and creates a “It’s not truely an All-Star but we had to be fair to the crap team” All-Star Game.

It’s true the Leafs were robbed, but not by Mitch Marner missing out, but by Morgan Rielly not being selected. Top 5 in d-man scoring, can skate like the wind, and gets beaten out by old man Mike Green. Get rid of Green and add one of the Wings young kids like Dylan Larkin or Anthony Mantha. Unfortunately, that would mean one of Tampa’s forwards miss out so that would never happen and we’re stuck with Green.

There’s nobody good on the Canadiens, even CP31 hasn’t been up to his best, but if they could, the NHL should have picked Marc Bergevin for the All-Star job he’s done at ruining this team.

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

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Logan: The Metro is so loaded with talent they should have to pay a luxury tax. Crosby, Ovechkin, Tavares, and Holtby are some of the best in the game over the past decade – with Lundqvist proving that age isn’t slowing him down either. The emergence of Josh Bailey as a late-bloomer is an inspiration and he’s only getting better. Scoring a career-best 13 goals and 43 assists last season, he’s already poised to surpass that with 12G, 38A at the halfway point of the 2017-18 season. I’ll be surprised if the Metro team don’t make it to the finals. My only question is this, where the bloody hell is Phil Kessel?

Joe: I think we both know the only person that would be upset if Phil Kessel was named to the team would be Phil. I think he’s pretty stoked he doesn’t have to go. But the real issue with this team is how Noah Hanifin got picked ahead of Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce or Justin Faulk?!

CENTRAL DIVISION

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Logan: It’s strange to see Tyler Seguin elected without Jamie Benn by his side – Seguin’s stats are only slightly better, scoring at a 0.93 points per game rate, while Benn is 0.91, they’re almost a packaged deal at this point and shouldn’t be separated. I’m a little surprised to see Brayden Schenn picked over Vladimir Tarasenko, again the numbers are almost identical but when I think of the St. Louis Blues the first player that comes to mind is always Tarasenko.

Finally P.K. Subban is getting the love he deserves after being taken for granted by the Montreal Canadiens front office. What happened to all those rumours about him being a toxic guy in the locker room? Seems like he’s doing just fine in Nashville.

Joe: Schenn to me only makes it because of Mark Scheifele’s injury – I’d even put Patrik Laine or Nikolaj Ehlers in over Schenn. And because this is an NHL event, how is there only one Blackhawk? Only Patrick Kane? Where’s Toews and Keith? I’d put Big Buff (Dustin Byfuglien) in over John Klingberg and have a skills game where you have stunt men skating across the middle with their heads down while defencemen crush them.

PACIFIC DIVISION

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Logan: Fleury! Fleury! Fleury! Going to the Vegas Golden Knights, many thought this was the beginning of the end for Marc-Andre Fleury where he could just kick back and enjoy the Vegas lifestyle – but that’s not how the Flower works. After losing his starting role with the Pittsburgh Penguins to young gun Matt Murray, he’s proving to everyone that he’s still got plenty in the tank to steal a few games with a 9-2-1 record, 1.73 GAA, .945 SV%, and 2 shutouts. The Golden Knights could have more players here, in particular Jonathan Marchessault or William Karlsson, instead the selection of James Neal feels more like a ‘one last time’ for the Real Deal.

I would argue that the Pacific Division All-Stars have the best blueline with Burns, Doughty, and Ekman-Larsson. All three are offensively gifted and could easily set up the likes of McDavid, Gaudreau, or rookie sensation Brock Boeser for a few highlight reel goals.

Also, young sniper Rickard Rakell is set to make his first NHL All-Star appearance, but I’ll leave the Ducks chat to Joe…

Joe: James “I Can’t Deal” Neal being selected annoys me. How former Ducks draft pick Wild Bill Karlsson didn’t make the team is a travesty! The other crime is OEL – he’s playing like he’s got a suit on under his gear, but gets selected over Clayton Keller, that’s rough. But hey, everyone’s got to play so I guess he’s got to make it and the fact he’s in the backend saves him too.

It’s about time Ricky Rakell gets some love! The East Coast bias fans and media will get the chance to see the unbelievable hands and skills he has. P.S. Cam Fowler was robbed…

(All photos sourced from NHL via Twitter).

The Ice Hockey Classic is coming back to New Zealand

While New Zealand has frequently hosted various divisions of international ice hockey tournaments in recent years, this tour hasn’t hit our shores since 2011 and this time the Ice Hockey Classic will include an outdoor game to be hosted in Wellington at Westpac Stadium – making it the first outdoor hockey game in the Southern Hemisphere to be held in a major stadium. There will also be games at Auckland’s Spark Arena and Queenstown’s Ice Arena.

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TEG Live state that the USA and Canada exhibition teams will feature a collection of current stars, illustrious veterans, plus promising young talent that will showcase the speed and skill of international ice hockey. Previous tours have featured the likes of Brent Burns, Scott Darling, Kyle Quincey, and Mike Commodore.

Commodore captained the Canadian side for the 2017 Ice Hockey Classic and mentions that he thoroughly enjoyed the series. “It was great to see so many passionate ice hockey fans come out and support us in Australia,” Commodore said. “Touring Australia with the Ice Hockey Classic has been a highlight in my career and it will be fantastic to reignite the rivalry with USA (in) New Zealand for yet another year.”

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This is what the Ice Hockey Classic could look like at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium.

Hosting an outdoor hockey game takes a lot of work as seen on the ‘Road to the Winter Classic’ documentary series that follows the progress of the NHL teams and ice crew as they prepare for the annual event, but it’s a challenge that Westpac Stadium’s chief executive Shane Harmon is aware of and excited for.

“The team have a 72-hour turnaround period to build, freeze, unfreeze and dismantle the rink. But we believe it is worth the effort to create such an exciting and innovative event experience for fans,” Harmon told Stuff.

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Artist renditions of the stadium paint a different picture but Ticketek currently shows Westpac Stadium hosting the outdoor game in a half-arena format.

Tickets go on sale from midday today via Ticketmaster for Auckland and Ticketek for Wellington and Queenstown.

Auckland: June 22, tickets range from $79 to $199.
Wellington: June 23, tickets range from $31 to $171.50.
Queenstown: June 28, standing for $81.50, $101.50 for unreserved seating.

(Photos supplied by TEG Live)