Earlier today, we passed along a report that the Heritage Classic — set for Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field during the 2015-16 season — was in danger of being postponed.
This afternoon, the Jets confirmed it. From the club:
“True North Sports & Entertainment Limited and the Winnipeg Football Club, along with the National Hockey League, would like to formally announce that they were unable to finalize a date to hold the Heritage Classic at Investor’s Group Field during the 2015-16 NHL season.
“All parties are very hopeful that a date can be secured early in the 2016-17 NHL Season and will continue working toward that objective. The game will be an exciting celebration of hockey in our province and our city, one which both True North and the Bombers look forward to hosting at a time which works for all parties involved.”
This news comes just days shy of the 2015 All-Star Game weekend in Columbus, during which the NHL is reportedly set to announce its slate of outdoor games for next season. The Winter Classic will apparently be held at Gillette Stadium between the Bruins and Canadiens; it’s believed that both Colorado and Minnesota will receive Stadium Series games as well.
The issue with the ’16 Heritage Classic in Winnipeg was twofold: the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers wanted the game held in February rather than the NHL’s preferred December date, as the Bombers are hosting the 2015 Grey Cup in late November. Per the Free Press, the Blue Bombers see the events being held so close together as “a potential issue for the CFL’s showcase weekend, fearing the hockey game would overshadow the football game and cannibalize both ticket sales and corporate sponsorship.”
The NHL, meanwhile, reportedly didn’t want to have the Heritage Classic in February, as it would possibly run up against next year’s All-Star Game and the aforementioned outdoor contests.