Hershey Bears practice earlier this morning (Photo via our Instagram account)

The Outdoor Classic is just over 24-hours away and Bears players are getting more and more excited as the game draws closer. After getting their first look at the Hersheypark Stadium rink, the Bears gave their thoughts on what the experience will mean to them.

Tomas Kundratek:
“This is really unbelievable. This is my third year in a row playing outside. I played in Hartford, then Philadelphia and now here. I enjoy every time I get a chance to do this.”

Boyd Kane:
“It’s pretty neat. This is the first time I’ve been over here since they put the ice down. It’s pretty cool just to have this rink outside. You have to worry about the game but I think you have to have fun with it too. It doesn’t happen very often. If you don’t enjoy yourself and have some fun with it, you’ll be disappointed after it’s over.”

Steve Oleksy:
“You take a look around and you see all these seats you can just imagine people in them right now. To see it filled up will be an amazing experience for any hockey player. You still have to treat this game like any other and we’re focused on getting the two points. You have to blend that together and enjoy the experience. Very few players get to experience anything like this”

Mark French:
“It’s a pretty cool experience. You have the (Hotel Hershey) lit up in the background, you’ve got the old Hersheypark Arena. It’s a hockey rink inside a lot of history. Simple is probably better. As good as the ice is, it can deteriorate very quickly. There are a lot of variables you can’t control. Keep it simple for 60 minutes and don’t expect the ice quality will hold for the whole game. You want the players to have a very professional attitude about it. and in hindsight you want them to enjoy the experience. The reality is that two points are on the line against a divisional opponent. Once we lace it up and get below the glass it’s just another hockey game.”

Ryan Potulny:
“You’re outside playing hockey. You can’t complain. It brings me back to North Dakota, growing up as a kid with no worries in the world just get out on the ice and go. We’d throw one puck out and all your sticks in the middle, that’s how you picked teams and play hockey. Hats off to Doug Yingst for making this happen.”

We are heading out to the alumni game very soon, but look forward to our next post that will include loads of photos from practice this morning.