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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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Hockey And Football Are In The (Cold) Air

The Jets’ and the Giants’ seasons are over, but fans of outdoor sports have other options in January 2014.

Yankee Stadium, for instance, will host the New York Rangers twice in late January as part of the four-game 2014 Coors Light National Hockey League (NHL) Stadium Series. It is the first time the Yankees’ home field has been used as an NHL venue, and the ice rink will be placed between third and first base. The Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 12:30 p.m., and then the New York Islanders on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Both contests are considered road games for the Rangers. The two other Coors Light NHL Stadium Series show-downs are being held in Los Angeles (Jan. 25) and Chicago (March 1). None of them will involve the Rangers, Devils or Islanders.

“The innovative nature of the Stadium Series affords the opportunity to have all three NHL teams in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area play, outdoors, at one of the most-celebrated stadiums in the world,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, when the Stadium Series schedule was unveiled.

The NHL announced on Dec. 9 that the public ticket allotment for the Rangers-Devils game had been sold out, and the league said those still looking for tickets could purchase them via the New Jersey Devils’ website. But there are numerous secondary-market websites where tickets can be acquired. Fans interested in receiving more information about the Jan.26 and Jan. 29 NHL games at Yankee Stadium can register at www.NHL.com/2014NewYork.

The National Football League (NFL) is also taking advantage of New York locales prior to the Super Bowl, which is being held on Sunday, Feb. 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. It marks the first time in Super Bowl history the game is being played in an outdoor, cold-weather setting. The hype for Super Bowl XLVIII will kick into high gear on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 10:30 a.m., with the annual Media Day gathering. Journalists from around the world will at that time interview players from both the AFC and NFC champions at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

The likely highlight of the week for New Yorkers will be the conversion of Broadway, between 34th and 47th Streets, into Super Bowl Boulevard, engineered by GMC. Broadway will be closed to traffic over a period of four days — Wednesday, Jan. 29 through Saturday, Feb. 1 — from noon to 10 p.m. Admission is free but it might be best to register online at nfl.com before arriving in midtown Manhattan to pick up your Super Bowl Boulevard badge. Parents or guardians must register for minors under the age of 18 and may do so either online or on-site, according to the NFL. Super Bowl Boulevard will be open on those four days, for 10 straight hours, no matter the weather.

There is a $5 per person charge for those who choose to ride Super Bowl Boulevard’s eight-lane Toboggan Run. All proceeds from those ticket sales will benefit Million Trees NYC. In addition, fans will have a chance to kick a field goal through the uprights and NFL players will stop by to offer free autographs on each day between noon and 5 p.m. Super Bowl Boulevard attendees can also visit the broadcast sets of the NFL Network (41st Street and Broadway), ESPN (34th Street and Broadway) and Fox (46th Street and Broadway).

If you haven’t had enough of the NFL by the end of January, the league will salute on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m., its best players and plays from the 2013 regular season with NFL Honors. The two-hour awards show will be held at Radio City Music Hall and televised nationally on Fox.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: MFBARRY@optonline.net