Michigan hockey team pulls for Carl Hagelin, Rangers in NHL Winter Classic
While most television sets will be set on college football games today, members of the Michigan hockey team will be focused on another budding New Year’s sports tradition: The NHL Winter Classic.
Current team members will cheer on former Michigan co-captain Carl Hagelin when the New York Rangers take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the fifth installment of the annual outdoor game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (3 p.m., NBC).
Players have been following the build up to the game on the HBO series "24/7 Rangers/Flyers: Road to the Winter Classic", which chronicles the Flyers and Rangers in the weeks leading up to the game.
“Everyone’s been looking at New York (on the show) mostly for Carl,” said senior defenseman Greg Pateryn. “Just seeing him on there’s pretty cool, not just for him but for the program as well.”
Though Hagelin, a rookie, hasn’t received much face time on the HBO series, he’s been effective on the ice with seven goals and four assists in 18 games played since his late November call up from the Connecticut Whale of the AHL. He had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Florida on Friday, the Rangers’ final tune up before the Winter Classic.
Hagelin has a history of success in outdoor games, with two goals and an assist in last year’s Big Chill at the Big House. He also had an assist against Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium during his junior campaign.
Sophomore defenseman Kevin Clare — a New York native — left the team’s morning practice Monday sporting a Rangers shirt. A lifelong Rangers fan, he’ll have a team full of adopted Rangers supporters to watch today’s game thanks to Hagelin.
Though the team will miss the opening faceoff due to another practice at 3 p.m., they plan to catch the latter stages after practice
“I’m sure we’ll all get to one house and watch the game together,” Clare said.
“That’ll be pretty cool just to watch him out there,” Pateryn said.