Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day, and so are rumors about hockey fans bundling up for outdoor games next season.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman went over two possible outdoor matchups coming for 2016-17 during Saturday’s Headlines segment.
A smart move for a potential game in Winnipeg: Imagine the Jets hosting a game in Winnipeg in February? Ilya Bryzgalov almost turned off his TV in protest.
Instead, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the Jets are likely to host the Edmonton Oilers in October. That would be a smart logistical move, as long as it isn’t too hot.
(Also, playing it then would hopefully increase the odds of the mainstream sporting public seeing Connor McDavid in an outdoor game.)
Toronto’s turn: Friedman reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to host the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 Winter Classic (or at least an outdoor game), almost certainly on New Year’s Day 2017.
The two teams combined for a great Winter Classic at Ann Arbor in 2014, so that could be a fun time.
Keep in mind these are reports (and well-placed ones at that) rather than official announcements for the NHL. These things could always change.
Related: Could the Penguins host the Flyers outdoors next season, too?
On Saturday, the NHL officially announced three outdoor games for the 2015-16 season with Boston, Minnesota and Colorado playing host.
On Jan. 1, 2016, the Bruins will take on the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Boston becomes the first team to play host to the Winter Classic twice. The Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1 in overtime, at Fenway Park in 2010. The Canadiens will become the second Canadian-based team to play in a Winter Classic, after the Toronto Maple Leafs participated in last year’s event at Michigan Stadium.
The Minnesota Wild will play host to the first of two Stadium Series games on Feb. 21, when the Chicago Blackhawks visit TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.
Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about including the Blackhawks in a fourth outdoor game.
Six days later, the Colorado Avalanche will welcome the Detroit Red Wings to Coors Field in the second Stadium Series game.
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.
The Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche will likely host Stadium Series games during the 2015-16 season according to hockey insider Darren Dreger.
Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Minnesota last week and admitted the league had visited potential venues for an outdoor game to be hosted by the Wild.
According to a report from The Canadian Press on Tuesday, the NHL is planning on having somewhere between two and six outdoor games next season.
This season has just two outdoor games down from the six in 2013-14.
Chicago visits Washington in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2015 and the Sharks play host to the Kings in the lone Stadium Series game Feb. 21, 2015.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is taking in the Canadiens – Wild game in Minnesota tonight and was a guest on the Wild broadcast during the intermission.
He spoke on the possibility of an outdoor game in Minnesota, expansion and parity in the league.
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