Tag: heritage classic

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Video: Bob McKenzie discusses the NHL’s plans for outdoor games in 2015-16


A day after we learned due to scheduling conflicts the Winnipeg Jets will not host the Heritage Classic during the 2015-16 season, more details have emerged regarding next season’s outdoor games.

Hockey insider Bob McKenzie joined the NBCSN panel to discuss the outdoor games to be hosted in both Minnesota and Colorado next season.

McKenzie says the NHL will use the all star weekend to officially announce next season’s outdoor games.

McKenzie reports the Red Wings will play in Colorado in one of the Stadium Series games while the Chicago Blackhawks will visit Minnesota in the other.

He also confirmed Boston will play host to the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium.

The L.A. Kings and San Jose Sharks will play in the lone Stadium Series game this season on Feb. 21 at Levi’s Stadium.

Report: Boston to host 2016 Winter Classic

Winter Classic Maple Leafs Red Wings Hockey

The Boston Bruins organization is expected to be awarded the 2016 Winter Classic.

Hockey insider Bob McKenzie reported the news Thursday on TSN’s Insider Trading segment.

According to McKenzie, the NHL is expected to make the announcement in the new year either in January or February.

He also confirmed previous reports that the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will host Stadium Series games while the Winnipeg Jets will host the 2016 Heritage Classic.

A total of four outdoor games is expected for the 2015-16 season.

Report: NHL scouting Winnipeg for outdoor game


According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the NHL is looking at Winnipeg to potentially host a Heritage Classic outdoor game.

Newspaper sources say the league has contacted Environment Canada for information regarding weather patterns in Winnipeg for January and February (“Awful, with a chance of terrible”), suggesting a reincarnated Heritage Classic could be on the docket for the Manitoba capital, possibly for 2014.

As for location? Investors Group Field — Winnipeg’s currently-under-construction football stadium — is set to open in June 2012 with an estimated capacity of 40,000 (with temporary seating.) While that seating number falls short of the 57,167 at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in 2003 for the Oilers-Canadiens Heritage Classic, it’s not too far off the 41,022 that attended Calgary’s McMahon Stadium for the 2011 Classic between the Habs and Flames.

As mentioned earlier, weather will likely play a key role in Winnipeg’s ability to host. Weather was a major story at the 2011 Classic, as the wind chill in Calgary made the temperature feel like minus-21 degrees Celsius (minus-6 Fahrenheit.)

Report: Heritage Classic won’t return next season, could return in 2012-2013

NHL Heritage Classic - Montreal Canadiens v Calgary Flames

During this season, the NHL had great success in pulling off two distinct outdoor games. There was the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh that saw the Penguins fall to the Washington Capitals and there was the Heritage Classic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that saw the Flames shutout the Montreal Canadiens 4-0.

For next season, we’re hoping Canadian fans got their fill of the Heritage Classic because according to a report from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the NHL will only be putting on the Winter Classic and not the Heritage Classic. The 2011 Heritage Classic was the first one held in eight years since the original took place in Edmonton in 2003 and featured the Oilers taking on the Canadiens. While the Heritage Classic this year was a huge financial success, the availability of locations in Canada appears to be a major problem. There’s also the issue of the league oversaturating the market for outdoor games by staging two of them per year.

For next season, it’s rumored that the Flyers and Rangers will face off with each other in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park on January 2, 2012. The NHL has yet to confirm those reports but it’s believed strongly that that’s what the matchup and location will be. Not doing a Heritage Classic is likely to ruffle many feathers north of the border, but in order to pull these off they have to have a place large enough to host it and in a location where weather won’t be a major factor. Cities like Toronto and Montreal have ideal weather but no real place to hold the games. Vancouver has a venue that could be used but the weather along the Pacific Coast doesn’t lend itself well to real winter-like conditions.

While the report says that the Heritage Classic won’t be played this year, there’s hope it’ll return for the 2012-2013 season. That could lead to the possibility of seeing one take place in Winnipeg but there are some issues there that would need to be settled as far as a venue plus the weather during winter in Winnipeg is harsh, cold, and windy. Not the ideal sort of thing for hockey outdoors. That will be some time away to think about. We’re sure the NHL enjoys putting on these events as they’re a cash cow to put on, but they have to have the locations needed to do it and that’s just something they don’t have enough of in Canada.

Frigid weather could cause problems for 2011 Heritage Classic

Heritage Classic Hockey

Ideally, Calgary in February would be the most obvious environment for an outdoor hockey game. After all, the sport is supposed to be played in the hand-numbing-cold, right?

The concern is that Calgary’s weather might present a little too much of a good, cold thing on Sunday, though. Media members were supposed to play a friendly game on the 2011 Heritage Classic ice surface this morning, but NHL ice guru Dan Craig was forced to cancel the event after cracks appeared in the ice.

It’s true that the Jose Theodore wearing a Montreal Canadiens toque under his mask ended up being one of the enduring images of the original Heritage Classic, but there’s certainly a cut-off point in which cold weather can go from charming to dangerous. Craig apparently was able to get the ice surface to a safe level around 5 pm according to Dave Lozo’s story, so perhaps Craig was right when he said “it wasn’t a crisis, but it was a challenge.”

With similar forecasts to Friday’s -10 Celsius (or 14 degrees Fahrenheit) for Sunday, it sounds like Craig will face another challenging day during the NHL’s second outdoor game of the season.

Craig said the forecast calls for more of the same extremely low temperatures Saturday and Sunday, which means his crew will have to go through the same process it did Friday.

Saturday’s forecast from the Weather Channel calls for sunny skies and temperatures that will hover around minus-10 for the afternoon practices for the Canadians and Flames, as well as the late afternoon Alumni Game at McMahon Stadium. Sunday also calls for temps right around -10, as well as partly cloudy skies.

The game will have some serious playoff implications for both the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens, so one wonders what kind of impact such a bitterly cold game might have on both teams. Here is what two Flames players (captain Jarome Iginla and center Brendan Morrison) had to say about the icy temperatures to John Down of the Calgary Herald.

“I was pretty excited about it (weather) for awhile,” laughed Calgary captain Jarome Iginla, from the middle of a media crush following Friday afternoon’s skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “It was plus 2, plus 1, minus 1 and now I hear minus 11 or 10 or something so I’m not quite as excited but maybe it’ll change. If not, we’ll make the most of it.”

Nose icicles are bound to be the order of the day even with heaters at the players’ benches.

“My biggest concern?” repeated Brendan Morrison of the question. “How cold it’s going to be. I had a practice with my son’s team a little while ago and it was only minus 8 but by the end of the hour, my fingertips were frozen so that’s a concern.”

Sunday should be a great day of hockey fans all around North America, even if a few thousand up in Calgary might end up with a serious case of the sniffles.