Go outside, with caution

Watching my e-mail over the last few days, I’ve noticed a few teams pointing out that they’re choosing to practice outside.

Yale did so on Tuesday, taking to a pond on the school’s golf course for a skate that associate head coach C.J. Marottolo said “makes you realize why you love the game and how you fell in love with the game.”

No. 1 Notre Dame is going outside on Friday with a well-rounded event at Merrifield Park in Mishawaka, Ind., that includes a live remote from a local radio station and free hot chocolate to the first 200 spectators.

We’re also expecting official word sometime soon on an outdoor game next season at Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium, the 80,321-seat home of Badgers football.

Outdoor hockey is quite the unique fad. The closest thing I can think of in another sport is baseball playing an exhibition game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., a tradition that came to an end last year. I don’t remember hearing about an NFL team playing or practicing at the local park, or an NBA team going to the playground for a workout.

Of course, you could say that hockey has a little bit more to gain from a gimmicky kind of thing like outdoor games and practices than the other sports because of its relatively low profile on the national sports landscape.

In that case, bring it on. But overall, I do worry that with more of these kind of events, the idea gets watered down. Here’s to being careful with playing games outside and doing so only when there’s a good reason to do so — not just because we can.