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A Shark fans Winter Classic story
cont...

Conversation amongst the fans sprung up very easily. We had a Blues fan and a Blackhawks fan sitting right behind us and we spoke with them the entire game. The discussion focused on hockey, the incredible event we were a part of, our teams and more hockey, hockey and hockey.

Everybody knows how the game turned out. It was nice to see the Hawks take the lead over the Wings early on, yet we were still counting the seconds left till Detroit would wake up and being to pour on the offense. It was nice to see that the game was so physical. A direct result of the previous game between these two teams which had its fair share of pushing, shoving & fighting. The desire to play physical for both teams made the game that much more fun to watch.

During the first intermission I decided to go up to the third level to get a view of the rink. I quickly made my way to the ramp heading up and suddenly, like a ton of bricks, a freezing wall of cold air, slammed into me full force. In our lower level seats we had very little wind since we were so low to the field. We were sheltered from the big gusts of wind. This are was so chilly, that people's beers were starting to get slushy.

On everyone's face in the third level, you could see the additional blast of the punishing winter elements that their bodies were receiving. Scrunched over people, covered up faces, the people up top were beyond chilly. They were freezing cold. However, they did not complain and they seemed to be doing a good job of keeping their spirits high. They were braving the cold and they had a good reason to be suffering for this worthy hockey cause. I took some shots of the rink from above and returned to my seat.

By the third period, the cold weather that people were now in for a good three hours already, started to be seen on their faces. Shivering lips and hands rubbing together, started to become the norm. We all got a pleasant surprise mid-way through the third period when hockey and baseball greats Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Phil Esposito, Denis Savard, Ryne Sandberg and Ferguson Jenkins started to sing the 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game Song' Stan Mikita began to conduct the crowd and all the guys did a great job singing the song and the whole crowd participated in a great moment that brought a smile to everyone's face, both Blackhawk and Red Wings fans alike. With the Red Wings ahead 6-3, the Blackhawk faithful were cheering wildly as the Hawks 4th goal, towards the end of the game, went in.

The Hawks lost the game 6-4 and many of the Blackhawks fans were obviously upset. This was when my Sharks team attire received a good amount of good natured ribbing. Its understandable though. Hockey, as all sports are, is very tribal. And the Hawks tribe had just suffered a defeat, at the hands of the widely disliked Red Wings team. Some of the fans were obviously grumpy.

Still, the overwhelming feeling throughout the stadium amongst the fans, was positive as they streamed out onto the streets in front of Wrigley Field. There was a mad dash to the merchandise stands to grab a souvenir and memento of the game that they all just saw. And that's the biggest thing that I will take away from this game. Everyone somehow knew that they were a part of something special & something very unique. A throwback styled hockey game, played in a previously unimaginable environment and everyone there had a total blast. Pond hockey, how the game we love made its start many many many years ago, was back. All of us felt like we had just taken a time machine back to that era and we were all a part of the early and very cold beginnings, of our sport.

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