So, in the most recent edition of The Auburn Hockey Report, I closed with my typical “that’s all for this week.” I may or may not have lied about that. The bit of news that’s been silently hyped up in these columns for almost a month now finally released today: the Auburn Tigers will be playing two outdoor games against the Georgia Bulldogs on February 24 and 25, 2022.
We’ve been teasing some big news for a while, so we won’t keep you waiting any longer. Your Auburn Tigers will be taking on the UGA Ice Dawgs in two-game outdoor series played in Athens, GA. pic.twitter.com/EAnsUn2DWI— Auburn Ice Hockey (@AuburnHockey) January 15, 2022
For Auburn fans everywhere, this is a unique event. Hockey is already a spectacle that most supporters of the University’s D-I athletics rarely bear witness to, but to see an outdoor game is something exceptionally special. Outdoor rinks simply do not exist in the South; even the NHL’s Winter Classic and Stadium Series took around a decade to venture below the Mason-Dixon Line to market the magic of ice hockey played in the open air.
While the Foundry Pavilion in Athens is far from being near the magnificence of playing a game in say, the Cotton Bowl or Notre Dame Stadium, it’s still a special and storied venue, being one of the only consistently operated outdoor ice rinks in the southeast. Getting to see two hated rivals combat one another in such a place is the epitome of must-see SECHC hockey. It helps that these will be Auburn’s final two games prior to the beginning of the SECHC Tournament; defeating Georgia could cement the Tigers as a top seed.
This game is intended to be an annual event between the two programs, featuring unique jersey designs and merchandise set for limited sale periods each season. It’s a nexus set to help improve the visibility of both the schools and their players in the eyes of the greater hockey community. Hopefully it’ll be the success that its benefactors envision.
Tickets are now on sale through The Classic Center, the venue hosting the event. There’s much more news to come about this game, so stay tuned to College & Magnolia and social media for what’s coming next.