Taking a page from the NHL Winter Classic and Heritage Classic, the Hamilton Bulldogs and Ontario University Athletics have teamed up with Molsen Canadian and Boston Pizza to take the game back to a grassroots level by presenting the inagural OUA Outdoor Classic this week and weekend at Iver Wynne Stadium.
On Thursday afternoon, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks will play host to the Brock Badgers as the ladies kick off the festivities at 3pm Although both teams have struggled to find a winning record this season, they are still in a battle for a playoff seed, with Brock sitting in the seventh seed, while UOIT is in a three way tie with the Western Mustangs and Waterloo Warriors for the eight and final spot. Holding a 10-4 advantage over the Ridgebacks in head to head matchups, a victory by the Badgers on Thursday will continue their dominance over UOIT, as the Ridgebacks have also failed to win a season series between the two schools.
For the first time prior to World War 1, and the first time that a regular season game is played outdoors, Sunday welcomes the men’s action as the puck drops between the Warriors and Badgers at 1pm. Currently holding down the third seed in the OUA West, the Warriors have struggled to post a “W” in 2012 after an impressive 11-2-3 start. Sitting closely behind in fourth, the Badgers have played slightly better than.500 hockey this season with a 10-9-1 record. ULed by sophomore Thomas Stajan and freshman Sean Jones, the Badgers enter Sunday’s game with a 5-2 victory over the Warriors from earlier this season. Looking to tie the season series, the Warriors are paced by Kirt Hill and Chris Ray, two players that rank within the OUA top 10 point leaders.