The Bozeman Stingers took their game into the elements to face off against the Sun Valley Suns in an outdoor hockey game in Big Sky, Montana. Bozeman has hosted at least one outdoor game since 2020, and it’s a game everyone looks forward to.
On Saturday, January 27th, the two teams battled at the Marty Pavelich Outdoor Ice Rink at the Big Sky Town Center. Hockey fans from around the area would gather to watch the game of hockey played in the majestic open-air setting with its snow-capped mountains.
Mary O’Flaherty, a Stinger’s fan and Graduate Student at Montana State University came up to Big Sky to take in the game and was excited to watch the team play at the outdoor rink. “Outdoor hockey games are always special and add a lot of excitement to the game,” she said.
The Stingers entered the Black Diamond Hockey League (BDHL) game riding a three-game winning streak after they earned victories against the Jackson Hole (Wyoming) Moose and the McCall (Idaho) Mountaineers. Sun Valley would pick up a 6-1 win in this latest outdoor classic against Bozeman. Luke McKay would score Bozeman’s only goal in the game.
Despite the loss, it was a festive atmosphere as the sun set and lights came on to illuminate the ice. As temperatures dipped into the mid-twenties, outdoor fires were lit, and fans roasted marshmallows while the teams whirled and raced up and down the ice.
“I thought the weather was great for family and friends to watch the game. It was under the lights; it was fast and exciting to watch,” said Bozeman player Ryan Padden. “It was a great turnout despite the losing effort,” he added.
Their opponents, the Sun Valley Suns, also enjoyed the opportunity to play outside, and it was a game they had looked forward to since the season schedule was announced. “Playing in the outdoor game at Big Sky was one of the most fun hockey games I’ve been privileged to be a part of.” Ben Barton, a Sun player, exclaimed. “It felt like we were playing in a Winter Classic with views of the surrounding mountains. The Bozeman Stingers did a great job organizing the event and being great hosts for us.”
The outdoor game in Big Sky was the second game that weekend for the Stingers. Bozeman hosted the Suns on Friday the previous night. The Suns would win that game 6-3 inside Haynes Pavillion.
The Stingers will now turn their attention to the Jackson Hole Moose as they come to town on February 9th and 10th. For tickets and more information, check out Bozeman-stingers.com or @bozemanstingers on Instagram.