According to TSN, specifically their “Insider Trading” program, the NHL is planning to host 6 outdoor games next season. As of this writing (Tuesday night), nothing has been confirmed by the league, but it’s certainly an interesting concept. Below are the rumored dates, matchups and locations.
- January 1st at Michigan Stadium between Toronto and Detroit
- January 25th at Dodger Stadium between Anaheim and LA
- January 26th at Yankee Stadium between the Islanders and the Rangers
- January 29th at Yankee Stadium between the Devils and the Rangers
- March 1st at Soldier Field between Pittsburgh and Chicago
- March 2nd at BC Place between Ottawa and Vancouver
I don’t doubt the NHL is planning to host multiple outdoor games. These games sell tickets, sponsorships and drive ratings. Ultimately those elements help grow the pie. What’s interesting about these games though are the locations and matchup choices. LA? Two in NYC? Can that be right? By no means am I suggesting the NHL shouldn’t hold 2 games at Yankee Stadium. I am just surprised they were able to persuade other owners to sign off on this.
As for an outdoor game in Los Angeles, are they planning to make it a roller hockey game? A few years ago the NHL said they could probably hold an outdoor game in a climate as warm as 50 degrees as long as the game were held at night. The average low temperature in LA in January is approximately 48 degrees. Cutting it close eh? Hey I’m no ice expert. If Dan Craig (NHL Facilities Director aka Ice Guru) thinks he can make it happen, by all means.
Should the NHL confirm these plans, this is a pretty big win for hockey fans, especially those of us who live in the NYDMA. I was always hoping the Rangers would get the 2014 Classic at Yankee Stadium. Looks like I may get my wish — twice.
The reaction from media members, at least the cynical ones, will likely be negative. The 6 games = overkill narrative practically writes itself. Still, I don’t think fan interest in these events will decline at all. Ultimately hockey is a regional sport, whose viewership is powered by local TV markets. The NHL is certainly feeding that beast. Plus those March games come after the Super Bowl, but before the NCAA Tournament. If there’s ever a time to have a big sporting event, that’s your window.
Time to start saving for that airline ticket Chris.