First Three Games of NHL Stadium Series Draw Sellout Crowds

The 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series has been a big success so far for the National Hockey League and a topic of great debate among many hockey fans.

The Coors Light Stadium Series added four outdoor hockey games to the NHL schedule in addition to the annual Winter Classic in 2014. To this point, three games have been played.

The first game of the series was played at Dodger Stadium between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 25. Two of the Stadium Series games were played in Yankee Stadium between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers on Jan. 26, and the New York Islanders and the Rangers on Jan 29.

There is still one game yet to be played at Soldier Field in Chicago between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks on March 1.

Although each of the Stadium Series games so far have drawn crowds of fans, several hockey lovers are not in favor of the recent increase in outdoor games. 

Some fans say that the increase in outdoor games is overkill and is just making what is supposed to be a special event a common experience.

"The more games played outdoors will eventually make each game less special," said Ryan Wold, a sophomore.

The Winter Classic is usually the only outdoor game played in the United States each season in the NHL. According to "Sports Illustrated," a record-breaking crowd of 105,491 attended as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout at Michigan Stadium this year. It was the largest crowd to ever watch an NHL hockey game.

This special game however excludes 28 of 30 teams each year, leaving a majority of hockey fans itching for a chance to see their respective teams play in such an outdoor setting.

With the addition of the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series, seven extra teams and their fans got to enjoy a possibly once in a lifetime event.

Jeremy Higginson, a Ramapo junior, said the Stadium Series is "a good thing because it gets way more teams and fans involved. Hockey is one of the least watched major professional sports, but the outdoor games help it compete with sports like basketball and football."

The outdoor hockey games do get more fans involved–when the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium, over 50,000 people attended. The game was the highest television rated regular-season hockey game ever in the L.A. area, according to CBS Sports.

There were also two heated rivalry games played locally at Yankee Stadium in New York. The New York Rangers defeated the New Jersey devils 7-3 and then edged the New York Islanders by a score of 2-1; both games drew over 50,000 fans, according to the NHL's website.

The 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series was a success for the NHL, which produced a lot of revenue that was lost during last year's lockout and increased the popularity of hockey in general.

John Stewart, a junior, said the Stadium Series, "will definitely help increase the NHL's popularity among casual fans. Outdoor hockey in the elements actually makes the game more exciting and appealing."