Bettman on six outdoor games: ‘We can’t do enough of them’

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The most outdoor games the NHL’s ever done in a single season is two, but in 2013-14, they’ll roll out a whopping six.

To some, that sounds a little excessive, but league commissioner Gary Bettman indicated to the Canadian Press that it’s a simple matter of supply and demand.

“If you’re looking at it on a national basis, obviously we’re doing more,” Bettman said Thursday at Yankee Stadium. “But for teams and markets that want to host this (event), for fans that want to attend, we can’t do enough of them.”

While the 2014 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Vancouver’s Heritage Classic serve as national games, Bettman made a point of emphasizing the local aspects of these groups of games.

“If you’re a team that’s hosted one, now you’re not going to wait 10 or 12 years to get another one back,” Bettman said. “(And) for markets and teams that haven’t had a chance to host it, this brings it more of a reality sooner.”

It’s pretty bold to think the NHL could pull off six, but Bettman implied that might not even be the limit.

“We’re obviously testing ourselves and our hockey operations department to make sure we can put on these six games. We’re confident that we can,” Bettman said. “But we’ll take a deep breath when all six are over and evaluate what made sense, what we can do better and whether or not we can even do more.”

Here’s the list of 2014 outdoor games, in case you need a refresher:

Jan. 1: 2014 Winter Classic – Toronto vs. Detroit at Michigan Stadium
Jan. 25: Anaheim vs. Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium
Jan. 26: New Jersey vs. NY Rangers at Yankee Stadium
Jan. 29: NY Islanders vs. NY Rangers at Yankee Stadium
March 1: Pittsburgh vs. Chicago at Soldier Field
March 2: 2014 Heritage Classic – Ottawa vs. Vancouver at BC Place