CHICAGO—Claiming that the events have reinvigorated the sport at youth level, USA Hockey officials announced Thursday that the NHL’s increasingly popular “Stadium Series” games are inspiring children across the country to go out and play hockey with their friends at nearby NFL stadiums. “Not everybody lives next door to an ice rink, but these outdoor games have made kids realize that all you need to play hockey is a puck, a few friends, and a 65,000-seat open-air arena,” said USA Hockey president Ron Degregorio, adding that children need only ride their bikes to neighboring NFL stadiums to play pickup games until it gets too dark to see, at which point they can just turn on the venue’s 1,500-watt floodlights. “Sure, they don’t have boards like an actual hockey rink, but you just need to pile up some snow along the perimeter of the ice and it works just fine. It’s just great to see kids getting out into the elements and enjoying the great sport of hockey—whether it’s at Ford Field, M&T Bank Stadium, or even just on the infield of a Major League ballpark.” Degregorio added that if there is no ice on the ground, young players can simply turn off their local stadium’s sub-turf heating system and use hose water to create a makeshift rink.
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