While the allure of outdoor games could be winding down for some, there is still some romanticism and hype around playing a league game outside in the elements. That happened recently with a Maryland squad as UMBC played outside and beat Kutztown University 5-4 in the DVCHC Winter Classic. The NAHL just had one in New Mexico– so why couldn’t Maryland hold one next?? One question that goes on in my head is what Maryland based team could hold an in-state outdoor game and where it could be played.
The last outdoor game that happened in Maryland that I can remember is the Stadium Series game at Navy Stadium in 2018. To the best of my knowledge, no club team played after that– though I could be very wrong in my memory of it. That said, hard pressed to think Navy will be able to play there any time soon just due to the cost and logistics of the whole order– though it would be cool to see a Navy/West Point game go on there. The same thing kind of goes for the Terps and SECU (Byrd) Stadium, where it’d be great to have a game there– but everything would have to be perfect.
You’d almost have to think of a high school stadium or smaller college football stadium to start and then think of logistics after that with rink set-up, maintenance, take down, all of that. There are plenty of those around– but alas, how much would the ice and all of that cost?? A 2011 article on the matter estimated around a $850K cost for the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons to host an outdoor game by itself with no NHL help around. Of course, Fort Mac is a big oil town and there’s plenty of money to go around. With inflation, that’s $1.125M in 2022 dollars. A lot of money for a one-off event.
When it comes to the NAHL event in New Mexico earlier this month, the Ice Wolves held it at the Los Alamos Ice Rink, which is a full-time outdoor ice rink in New Mexico– not unlike what Chevy Chase has at the Chevy Chase Country Club. Some consider Herbert Wells Arena an outdoor rink, but it has a solid roof with open sides to the rink. Laurel has the Whitey’s rink, but that’s far too small. Same goes with a lot of the pop-up rinks Maryland has in the winter– though I’d love to see an ACHA or NAHL game try to happen on the Glen Burnie outdoor rink.
Back to Chevy Chase for a minute– that could be the easiest destination for some teams, especially since a good amount of them are to the southwest of the state– like the Terps and Montgomery College. Heck, even the Black Bears could maybe make the trip down to play in an event there; though it might not have the space for the spectator’s that may want to make the trek down to experience that. Regardless of the case, it would be a nice little change of pace and a solid destination game for any of these teams in the area to experience and partake in just to say they did it. While it might be a little worn out, it’s still a solid story to tell and an event people would want to witness.