January 02, 2009

Future Venues For Winter Classic?

The NHL Winter Classic at Chicago's Wrigley Field lived up to it's name.

And now the speculation begins as to who will host the New Year's Day game in 2010.

The NHL tried hard to have this year's game at Yankee Stadium in New York, presumably featuring the Rangers and Boston Bruins. I believe the original Yankee Stadium will be destroyed before this time next year, but they could always host it in New Yankee Stadium.

The flip side of that is also a strong candidate. Boston's Fenway Park would be an excellent choice.

Given the snowy winters, Canada could again host another outdoor game.

Hosting a game in Montreal would make the Canadiens centennial anniversary even that much more special. But Olympic Stadium is indoors. McGill's Molson Memorial Stadium seats less than 30,000 people. While hockey as we know was born on the campus of McGill, I would think that might be a better fit for the 2017 game when the NHL celebrates it's own centennial.

Toronto's Roger's Center would be ideal, and relatively easy with the retractable roof to ensure a good setup. Calgary's McMahon Stadium and Ottawa's Frank Clair Stadium, both CFL venues, are small like McGill's.

Hosting a game in Vancouver would be a great prelude to the Olympics. I know Vancouver has been snowed in this Christmas, but trust me, usually it's raining in Vancouver. They could host it indoors at BC Place. Could they set something up outdoors in the mountains of Whistler?

All that being said, I think it is unlikely to see another game in Canada for a few more years. American interest in the Winter Classic is strong. New Year's Day may be the only day on the calendar that we can say that.

So where else in the States could we see a game?

There has been some talk of a game between the Flyers and Penguins, possibly in centrally located Beaver Stadium at Penn State university. Outside of a Bruins-Rangers tilt, this would be ideal for American television interests.

Of course, Pittsburgh already had it's game, so perhaps the Flyers and Rangers could meet at Giants Stadium.

TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota could be a good venue, although natural Minnesota rivals Detroit and Chicago already had their moment outside. Dallas could suffice.

Of course all of these options are about maximizing revenues which means huge seating capacities and American television interests. But I really hope one day the NHL thinks well outside of the box with this.

The Russians have already hosted a game at Moscow's Red Square. They could only arrange for 2000 seats, but utilizing such a historic spot is brilliant.

Perhaps the NHL could put on a game near Long Pond in Windsor, Nova Scotia, where the game was being formed and many claim was born. Or how about on the lawns of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, right next to the longest skating rink in the world, the Rideau Canal? Or how about Central Park in New York?

Tell me where you think future Winter Classics should be played!


Unknown said...

Fenway. I want it to be fenway (or even Gillette in foxboro) so bad. Because I want to go so bad.

Eighty-Two said...

Fenway is the natural sequel, but I think Minnesota deserves its outdoor game next.

TCF Stadium - Wild vs. Canucks.

Greg M. said...

Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings, and the game could be prefaced with an outdoor macthup between Ohio State and Michigan. Historic venue, 100,000+ seats.