2019 NHL Winter Classic: Blackhawks wowed by Notre Dame Stadium despite rain
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — As if the Winter Classic wasn’t enough of a twist in the Blackhawks’ routine, steady rain at Notre Dame Stadium forced them to rework their practice day.
Neither the Hawks nor Bruins got on the rink as a crew worked constantly to keep the ice in shape for the game Tuesday. Both teams shifted their practices to the Notre Dame hockey team’s arena, but players still snuck out to take in the sight.
“It was pouring pretty hard out there, so I didn’t get that close to the rink, but I tried to take a look,” winger Alex DeBrincat said. “It was pretty breathtaking.”
Most of the Hawks, including DeBrincat, have not played in an outdoor game despite the organization participating in three Winter Classics and two Stadium Series games.
For the players still around from the Stanley Cup runs, though, the event’s luster hit them afresh. The Hawks are using Notre Dame’s home football locker room and will walk out of the tunnel to an expected crowd of nearly 80,000.
“You don’t want to act like you’re too jaded,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “You’ve gotta appreciate it for what it is.
“You just feel the energy, feel the history here. It’s pretty meaningful to play a hockey game out there.”
Caggiula en route
The Hawks will get newly acquired forward Drake Caggiula after the Winter Classic. They dealt Brandon Manning and prospect Robin Norell to the Oilers for Caggiula and defenseman Jason Garrison on Sunday, then waived Garrison.
Caggiula wasn’t able to join the team immediately because he didn’t have a U.S. visa as of Monday afternoon, but general manager Stan Bowman hopes to have him by the end of the week.
The Hawks play at the Islanders on Thursday and at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
He’s a significant pickup for the team after missing out on him as a college free agent in 2016.
“We followed his progress over the last couple of years, and I love the way he plays,” Bowman said. “I think he’s going to complement our team. He’s another young forward who brings a lot of energy.”