outdoor games

AP

Outdoor game rumors: Jets host Oilers, Red Wings at Maple Leafs

12 Comments

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?

Report: Four or five outdoor games possible in 2014-15

21 Comments

With the announcement that the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic, without an opponent or location mind you, thoughts turn to what other places may see an outdoor game next season.

Chris Botta of Sports Business Journal and Daily reports the 2014-15 season could see four or five outdoor games happen, similar to what’s going on this season. With the Winter Classic already chosen, another Heritage Classic could be on the way as well as more Stadium Series-like events.

But where could we see things happen? Here are a few ideas.

Beaver Stadium — State College, Pennsylvania

This has been kicked around for some time to have an all-Pennsylvania showdown between the Penguins and Flyers at Penn State’s legendary football stadium. The deal to make something happen there has reportedly hit some snags. If the Flyers wind up in the 2015 Winter Classic against the Capitals, as has been rumored possible, you can pretty much nix this one from happening sooner than not.

Cowboys Stadium — Dallas, Texas

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to have his massive stadium play host to an outdoor game. Meanwhile, Stars TV man Darryl Reaugh says they’ll get a Winter Classic in the next three years. Hmm… With the Stars doing their part to become more relevant, they’d make a great host, but don’t expect them to “settle” on a Stadium Series game.

Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium — Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Twin Cities have been clamoring for an outdoor game basically since the inception of the Winter Classic. They’re going to get an outdoor game one of these years, the question is: How big of a game? If they want one right away, a Stadium Series game at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, would be an instant hit.

That said, Minnesota fans will pack out any stadium for outdoor hockey and the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, TCF Bank Stadium, could fill out easily for a Winter Classic. If the Vikings’ new stadium is built (tentative opening in 2016), that would all but guarantee a Winter Classic in Minnesota… If it had a retractable roof. D’oh!

AT&T Park — San Francisco, California

The Stadium Series has shown they don’t fear California weather as the Kings and Ducks will play at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles this year. The Sharks want an outdoor game badly and the home of the San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park, would make for one of the most picturesque settings for a game.

Weather in the Bay Area is already winter-like during the summer. This seems like a no-brainer to do and the Sharks would likely have their pick of opponents wanting to play there.

Report: NHL scouting Winnipeg for outdoor game

3 Comments

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the NHL is looking at Winnipeg to potentially host a Heritage Classic outdoor game.

Newspaper sources say the league has contacted Environment Canada for information regarding weather patterns in Winnipeg for January and February (“Awful, with a chance of terrible”), suggesting a reincarnated Heritage Classic could be on the docket for the Manitoba capital, possibly for 2014.

As for location? Investors Group Field — Winnipeg’s currently-under-construction football stadium — is set to open in June 2012 with an estimated capacity of 40,000 (with temporary seating.) While that seating number falls short of the 57,167 at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in 2003 for the Oilers-Canadiens Heritage Classic, it’s not too far off the 41,022 that attended Calgary’s McMahon Stadium for the 2011 Classic between the Habs and Flames.

As mentioned earlier, weather will likely play a key role in Winnipeg’s ability to host. Weather was a major story at the 2011 Classic, as the wind chill in Calgary made the temperature feel like minus-21 degrees Celsius (minus-6 Fahrenheit.)

AHL draws record crowd with outdoor game

15 Comments

As it turns out, outdoor games aren’t just a great draw for the NHL and NCAA.

The AHL’s Hershey Bears and Adirondack Phantoms drew 45,653 fans to their own outdoor tussle at Citizens Bank Park, the same site as the 2012 Winter Classic, breaking the minor league’s attendance record in the process.

In fact, the game blew out the league’s two other outdoor games, which peaked at 21,508 fans who attended a Syracuse, N.Y. game. NHL.com reveals that Philadelphia now holds the AHL attendance records for both regular season and playoff games.

As far as the contest itself, the Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers affiliate) topped the Bears (Washington Capitals affiliate) 4-3 thanks to Shane Harper’s overtime goal. If that spoiler fails to ruin your urge to watch the game,* you can check it out on the NHL Network on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

* – Oops, should I have given you an alert, there? Sorry. (Cackles evilly.)

Michigan-Michigan State’s ‘Big Chill’ outdoor game should draw record crowd

1 Comment

We’re already starting to get a little excited about the 2011 Winter Classic (featuring the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, if you don’t already know) here at PHT, but one thing the NHL cannot boast is drawing the largest crowd for an outdoor hockey game.

Nope, that designation will reportedly go to an NCAA outdoor game again. Michigan and Michigan State will celbrate their inner-state college hockey rivalry with “The Big Chill* at the Big House” about a month before the Winter Classic (January 11, 2010 to be exact) and they’ve reportedly sold a staggering 105,585 tickets to the event.

If you want to hear more about the interesting game, click here to watch a video with dramatic music and some history on the two teams. Should be a great time, indeed.

* – Not to be confused with the movie.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)