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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Experience At The 2011 NHL Winter Classic (Part 2 of 2)


Jan 5, 2011
Posted By - Lauren Norris
Source Credits -talent network, inc.
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A little over five months ago, the NHL, along with the Penguins, Capitals, and Steelers announced the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field, a press conference I was lucky enough to have access to. We sat in the middle of Heinz Field at the end of July, with the sun beating down on us, listening to all of the details. I don't think I understood the magnitude of excitement that this event would bring to the City of Pittsburgh, and my expectations were far exceeded.

As I mentioned yesterday, my Winter Classic experience started on New Years Eve with the Alumni Game. I heart Paul Coffey - enough said. Saturday morning I woke up at noon after a great New Years spent with an amazing group of my friends. I was secretly wishing for a late game start so that I didn't have to wake up early, and that was granted. An 8:00pm start now instead of 1:00pm? I'll take it! My sister and I and my two cousins left at 4pm to head to the North Shore, set up a little tailgate, and take part in the festivities. Now, I have done my fair share of tailgating for Steelers and Pirates games, but tailgating + Penguins games usually aren't the norm. This was a tailgating scene unlike I've ever seen. 68,111 was the final count of attendance, but there were easily thousands more packed in every bar located by the field, including the casino. There was such an electricity in the atmosphere, and you couldn't help but get excited.

View of Heinz Field from our tailgate.

Tailgating crowd.

I think the fact that it was moved to an 8:00pm start, under the lights, in prime time just made it that much more exciting. We started the walk to our seats around 6:30pm. We stopped and saw Radio Tokyo playing at an outside stage, and they had the crowd even more pumped up! We finally made it to Gate B and got in line to get into Heinz Field. It wasn't too bad when we got through, but within 10 minutes, it was just mass chaos.



It took us a good half-hour to get up to our seats in Section 520, Row Z, Seats 7 & 8. There's always great photo-ops along the way. 

When you can't move anywhere in a crowd, might as well take a photo!

Awesome view of the skyline outside of Gate B.

We FINALLY get up to our seats, get settled, and realize we have one of the best views of the ice. The whole set-up felt 'Super Bowl' like, and I guess you could say that the NHL has made the Winter Classic kind of the hockey world's 'Super Bowl'. 

Seeing those Winter Classic Terrible Towels waving was an awesome sight!

Hinder played before the game started, The Clarks played in between the 1st and 2nd period, and in between the 2nd and 3rd period, they had Styx come out and play Renegade. I don't recall that being an advertised appearance, and that was too bad - because it seemed like half of the crowd was at the concessions/in the bathroom at the time. It was awesome seeing them play, but with the history of Renegade now being a staple in Steelers football and Heinz Field, I think they should have played first for sure!

I have to say, one of my favorite parts of the whole game was when the Penguins and Capitals walked out of the tunnel together, and onto the ice. It was definitely something to see! 


Watching a hockey game in the middle of Heinz Field was amazing. I did not like when the Capitals scored, there were too many Capitals fans there and they made too much noise for my liking. HA! I think they should have got 10 tickets to buy, and the rest sold to Penguins fans. Yes, that is fair and I'm sticking to it. 


The end score was Washington Capitals 3 - Pittsburgh Penguins 1. As much as I hated to see them lose, to THE CAPITALS, my spirit couldn't be dampened. The whole experience was great, from beginning to end, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone; if you have the chance to go to a Winter Classic, to see and cheer on your favorite team, DO IT. 

The NHL out-did themselves with this event. I have watched all of the previous Winter Classic's to date, and I think this one was pretty amazing. I might be bias since it was in my hometown, and I was able to go, but nonetheless I loved it! Once again, Pittsburgh was represented so well on a national level and I'm very thankful that I had the opportunity to go. NOW, let's focus on bringing the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh!

Happy New Year from myself and everyone at talent network,
~Lauren

See the whole Facebook Album from my experience.
Our full Winter Classic coverage

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