The NHL is expected to announce its next slate of outdoor hockey games at this weekend’s All-Star Game in Columbus, and it’s going to be good news for two markets that have been craving them.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Minnesota Wild are expected to host the Chicago Blackhawks and the Colorado Avalanche will host the Detroit Red Wings in 2016 outdoor games.
The venues have yet to be determined, although Target Field and Coors Field are the expected hosts for the Stadium Series games.
The 2016 Winter Classic, in hockey’s worst-kept secret, will be held at Foxboro Stadium between the host Boston Bruins and the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 1. McKenzie believes that means the New England Patriots are likely on the road for the last two weeks of the NFL season, although perhaps there could be a Thursday night game in the mix.
The Stadium Series games should bring a sense of relief to those markets who have felt they have all you need for a successful outdoor game – the venues, the markets and the weather – but weren’t deemed Winter Classic worthy.
I guess the only drawback is that Blackhawks are once again a featured player in an outdoor game for the fourth time, which is getting a little stale. But lord knows there’s a better rivalry between the Wild and Blackhawks than there was between Chicago and D.C.
It’s just … well … shoulda been you, Dallas (North) Stars
As for the Avs and Red Wings … well, we assume Claude Lemieux and Kris Draper are both dropping the ceremonial first puck, right?
So the only U.S. market that has the right weather, venue and fans to not get an outdoor game remains the St. Louis Blues. Maybe if Busch was an NHL sponsor rather than Coors. I wish I was kidding.
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