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Geneva-Lausanne hockey derby heads outdoors

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Stade de Geneve, shown here, will be adapted for the ice hockey game. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
11:19 CET+01:00
A rivalry between the Geneva-Servette and Lausanne ice hockey clubs is about to be showcased outdoors in a game to be played unusually in a football stadium.

The Winter Classic, modeled on similar events held by the National Hockey League in the US, is set for Saturday at the Stade de Genève.

The event, the first of its kind in Geneva, is expected to attract 30,000 spectators (all tickets have been announced sold).

“It’s a dream of close to 10 years that we have been waiting to carry out,” Geneva-Servette coach Chris McSorley, an expat from Canada, said last October when the event was first announced.

The derby will count as part of the regular Swiss National League A season.

It will mark only the second time such a game has been played in a football stadium in Switzerland.

The first Winter Classic was held in 2007 at the Stade de Suisse in Bern between Bern and Langnau.

Organizers are promising spectators more than just a hockey game.

A concert, light show and fireworks are part of the spectacle, to be televised by RTS 2, which starts at 8.15pm.

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In the US, where similar outdoor games were launched in 2008, more than 105,000 fans attended a Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan last week to see the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in snowy, sub-zero weather.

Organizers are prepared to reschedule the Geneva game in case of bad weather but forecasts suggest conditions will be relatively mild and dry, with a low temperature of four degrees.

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