Canucks GM is confident Heritage Classic at BC Place will sell out

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The sun was shining and the temperature was around the freezing mark. If today was the date of the 2014 Heritage Classic, it would’ve been ideal conditions for outdoor — well, quasi-outdoor — hockey in Vancouver.

But today isn’t March 2, so fingers are still crossed that the rain will stay away and the retractable roof of BC Place will be open when the Canucks host the Ottawa Senators that Sunday.

Here’s an NHL rendering of what the stadium might look like during the game:

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While Canucks general manager Mike Gillis called it “incredibly exciting” at today’s promotional press conference, the idea of an NHL game at BC Place, in front of over 50,000 fans, hasn’t been met with total enthusiasm. Wrote columnist Tony Gallagher in The Province when the event was announced in July:

This is really a test, an examination of the hockey market here that everyone knows is pretty strong. They want to find out just exactly how stupid and gullible people are when it comes to NHL hockey, and it’s pretty clear they are betting a fair bit of money that you fans are literally as dumb as a bag of hammers.

So yeah, Tony’s not really on board.

Whether the fans get on board remains to be seen. Tickets officially went on sale to the public this morning, and Gillis expressed confidence that the game would sell out.

“Absolutely,” he said.

The Heritage Classic has been held twice, first in Edmonton (2003), then in Calgary (2011).

The 2014 edition will be shown on NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Other outdoor games will be held this season at Michigan Stadium (Winter Classic), Yankee Stadium, Soldier Field, and Dodger Stadium.