The NHL’s Stadium Series and Winter Classic events have pushed – and will push – league ice guru Dan Craig to some ambitious levels, but that doesn’t mean Gary Bettman’s open to just any idea.
During a sprawling 20-minute press conference (NHL.com provides the full details here) on Wednesday, Bettman made it clear that the Florid Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are unlikely to get an outdoor game anytime soon.
“I think there are probably still a couple places where we wouldn’t dare try it. I’m not sure South Florida ever gets cool enough with great predictability to ever do it,” Bettman said. “But yeah, we’ve now figured out that we can push the limits a little bit. That’s a testament to Dan Craig. As I said last year before and immediately after the game at Dodger Stadium, I only asked him 10,000 times over the span of a year, ‘Are you sure you can do this?’ There was no question. But again, there is a huge demand for these. Now in terms of games in California it’s not about the elements, we think we can deal with that, it’s about making sure we move this around and satisfy the interest that we’re getting on a continent-wide basis.”
The San Jose Sharks are hosting the Los Angeles Kings at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 21 for that 2015 Stadium Series contest. It could be a challenging event climate-wise, yet Bettman obviously seems confident that it will be a success.
Bettman also noted during the press conference that the NHL’s still trying to find the right fit for the number of “special events.”
” … Two isn’t necessarily the right number. Six isn’t the right number. It’s probably going to be somewhere in between.”
The NHL’s commissioner touched on a variety of subjects, including echoing previous thoughts on expansion and shedding some light on Chris Pronger’s rumored discussions to join the league’s Department of Player Safety. You can read a detailed transcript of his presser here.