Kalamazoo Wins Historic First ECHL Outdoor Game

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On Saturday, December 27th 2014 the Vancouver Canucks ECHL affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings, played in the first ever ECHL Outdoor game.  The game was hosted by the Toledo Walleye and was located in downtown Toledo.  With the first ever ECHL Outdoor Game goal scored by a Canucks’ prospect, it was a historic moment for all teams involved.

Attending this game was Sarah Hobday who graciously guest wrote this column and shared many picture with us.  So read on past the jump for her breakdown of the game!

The first ever outdoor ECHL game took place on Saturday, December 27th at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio. Players were all smiles
during the morning practice, taking in the
atmosphere and experience of playing outdoors. Only two K-Wings players
had played in an outdoor game before: D Ben Wilson and F Lane Scheidl.

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The Fox and The Hound

After
the morning practice, the KWings had a family skate for the parents,
wives, girlfriends, and kids. Dane Fox brought his new boxer puppy, Gunner,
out for the skate. Gunner was the only dog at the ballpark, winning the hearts of everyone in attendance. The players
commented that the ice conditions were much better than expected, as constant cloudy skies helped the ice crew and cut down on glare for
the players.

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On hand was an
announced crowd of 11,222 inside the ballpark, as well as spectators
outside the fences and on the streets watching. The
atmosphere in the stands was very energetic, but relatively quiet down by the ice due to the
distance between the stands and the playing surface. Taking pictures at ice level, I
could hear all the players clearly, so it was definitely a different experience
for the players to not have fans on top of them screaming and banging
on the glass. 

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Canucks Army legend Ludwig Blomstrand made history by scoring the first outdoor
ECHL goal at 19:41 of the first period. The goal came after Curtis Valk won an offensive zone faceoff, and Blomstrand picked up the puck and fired a quick shot
off. Jeremie Blain and Valk were credited with assists. Blomstrand normally does not do
much of a celebration after scoring goals, but for this historic goal he
definitely did! Blomstrand was especially happy for his goal since his
parents and sister were in attendance after coming from Sweden for
Christmas and this game. They were the proudest set of parents that
night! 

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Valk had another strong game centering the top line with
Blomstrand. Fox saw more ice time than games in the previous two weeks as he continues to improve his skating and speed. One of Fox’s biggest
strengths is the on the powerplay, but with only two penalties called on Toledo in the
game, Fox was not able to showcase his talents here. Fox, Blomstrand,
and Valk all threw some very strong clean hits in this game. Blain had a
strong game as well, though he was on the ice for the only Toledo goal.

Final score 2-1 Kalamazoo. [Box Score]


Editors Note: Sarah has two albums of photos from the game, so if you wish to see more check them out here and here.  Also make sure to give her a follow (@Sarah_Hobday) for all the latest news in Kalamazoo Wings, scouting reports, insiderrr information, rumours, gossip and lots of great hockey photos.