Tag: outdoor games

AT&T Park

Report: Four or five outdoor games possible in 2014-15


With the announcement that the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic, without an opponent or location mind you, thoughts turn to what other places may see an outdoor game next season.

Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal and Daily reports the 2014-15 season could see four or five outdoor games happen, similar to what’s going on this season. With the Winter Classic already chosen, another Heritage Classic could be on the way as well as more Stadium Series-like events.

But where could we see things happen? Here are a few ideas.

Beaver Stadium — State College, Pennsylvania

This has been kicked around for some time to have an all-Pennsylvania showdown between the Penguins and Flyers at Penn State’s legendary football stadium. The deal to make something happen there has reportedly hit some snags. If the Flyers wind up in the 2015 Winter Classic against the Capitals, as has been rumored possible, you can pretty much nix this one from happening sooner than not.

Cowboys Stadium — Dallas, Texas

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to have his massive stadium play host to an outdoor game. Meanwhile, Stars TV man Darryl Reaugh says they’ll get a Winter Classic in the next three years. Hmm… With the Stars doing their part to become more relevant, they’d make a great host, but don’t expect them to “settle” on a Stadium Series game.

Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium — Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Twin Cities have been clamoring for an outdoor game basically since the inception of the Winter Classic. They’re going to get an outdoor game one of these years, the question is: How big of a game? If they want one right away, a Stadium Series game at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, would be an instant hit.

That said, Minnesota fans will pack out any stadium for outdoor hockey and the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, TCF Bank Stadium, could fill out easily for a Winter Classic. If the Vikings’ new stadium is built (tentative opening in 2016), that would all but guarantee a Winter Classic in Minnesota… If it had a retractable roof. D’oh!

AT&T Park — San Francisco, California

The Stadium Series has shown they don’t fear California weather as the Kings and Ducks will play at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles this year. The Sharks want an outdoor game badly and the home of the San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park, would make for one of the most picturesque settings for a game.

Weather in the Bay Area is already winter-like during the summer. This seems like a no-brainer to do and the Sharks would likely have their pick of opponents wanting to play there.

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.)

AHL draws record crowd with outdoor game


As it turns out, outdoor games aren’t just a great draw for the NHL and NCAA.

The AHL’s Hershey Bears and Adirondack Phantoms drew 45,653 fans to their own outdoor tussle at Citizens Bank Park, the same site as the 2012 Winter Classic, breaking the minor league’s attendance record in the process.

In fact, the game blew out the league’s two other outdoor games, which peaked at 21,508 fans who attended a Syracuse, N.Y. game. NHL.com reveals that Philadelphia now holds the AHL attendance records for both regular season and playoff games.

As far as the contest itself, the Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers affiliate) topped the Bears (Washington Capitals affiliate) 4-3 thanks to Shane Harper’s overtime goal. If that spoiler fails to ruin your urge to watch the game,* you can check it out on the NHL Network on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

* – Oops, should I have given you an alert, there? Sorry. (Cackles evilly.)

Bold ideas for next Winter Classic include Colorado, Florida

Winter Classic Hockey

The Winter Classic is morphing into a prestige and money-laden event that represents hockey’s best answer to the Super Bowl. In its first five years, the event has bounced around Northeastern cities, but the calls for more exotic locales have been picking up with each passing year.

Here are two especially interesting ideas from today’s round of stories.

Taking the Winter Classic out West

Avalanche beat writer Adrian Dater paints an intriguing picture of a Winter Classic game in Colorado for Sports Illustrated:

Can you picture this?

It’s 25 degrees outside on an early January night and the Detroit Red Wings are taking to the ice against the Colorado Avalanche under the silhouette of the Rocky Mountains. More than 76,000 fans are packed inside Sports Authority Field in Denver, including — brace yourselves — TIM TEBOW.

One of the greatest rivalries in sports history — not just the NHL — is revived for one day at least. And in case the current Avs and Wings wouldn’t be enough of an attraction, there is the alumni game to consider.

I’m not quite sure the NHL should base its Winter Classic planning on the drawing power of a quarterback who might be old news by next year (Tebow), but the overall idea has some appeal. The alumni game would indeed be a beauty since many of those greats just recently retired. (Mike Keane was playing until 2010.)

Florida + retractable roof = gold?

The Miami Marlins have made a lot of noise during their transformation in the MLB’s off-season, so attempting to attract a Winter Classic to their new ballpark seems in character. It almost doesn’t sound completely ridiculous thanks to the building’s retractable roof, either.

Here are some interesting details about the bold idea via a great blog post by George Richards of the Miami Herald.

First, the ballpark would have toclose its retractable roof for about two weeks with the air conditioning running – and humidity lowered – while the ice sheet is built and maintained.

On game day, the roof would open for the outdoor affect.

One can only imagine the scenery an outdoor hockey game in the tropics would produce for a worldwide television audience. That imagery is what the Panthers would sell to the league. It’s a hook no other market has. Sure, Los Angeles has sun and palm trees; it doesn’t have the retractable roof.

Sure, the retractable roof seems kind of like cheating, but Richards writes that it would afford an opportunity to have NHL-quality ice. (That’s not necessarily a claim that could always be made during some of the rougher stretches of some Winter Classic games.) Beyond that, the lure of going to Miami for a combination of a New Year’s celebration and outdoor hockey is so stunning that my liver hurts just thinking about it.


As Richards wrote later on in that piece, a Winter Classic in Florida remains highly unlikely. That being said, the fact that the technology is in place to make that even feasible is exciting enough.

Moving on, tell us: where would you like to see the next Winter Classic? Feel free to base your choice(s) on whatever standards you’d like, from best overall experience to highest degree of difficulty and anything in between.

Michigan-Michigan State’s ‘Big Chill’ outdoor game should draw record crowd

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We’re already starting to get a little excited about the 2011 Winter Classic (featuring the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, if you don’t already know) here at PHT, but one thing the NHL cannot boast is drawing the largest crowd for an outdoor hockey game.

Nope, that designation will reportedly go to an NCAA outdoor game again. Michigan and Michigan State will celbrate their inner-state college hockey rivalry with “The Big Chill* at the Big House” about a month before the Winter Classic (January 11, 2010 to be exact) and they’ve reportedly sold a staggering 105,585 tickets to the event.

If you want to hear more about the interesting game, click here to watch a video with dramatic music and some history on the two teams. Should be a great time, indeed.

* – Not to be confused with the movie.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)