NHL Reportedly Eyeing Different Sites For Outdoor Games So It Does Not Repeat Cities
As the NHL continues to plan future outdoor games, the league does not "necessarily want to go back to cities a second and third time," according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. In addition to the league "starting to look at" playing a game next season at West Point, one other possibility is Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Friedman: "They’re saying, ‘Where else can we go with this?’ ... I’ve heard they’ve had some talk about, ‘Would you want to take the game internationally?’ I think they’re just looking at different ideas to continue to grow this past just NHL cities." Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said there also is a "cost" issue. He said, "That’s a big thing here, who picks up the tab? ... They’re not as lucrative as people would think, based on the cost of putting this thing up and the insurance” ("HNIC," Sportsnet, 10/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski noted yesterday's Heritage Classic between the Oilers and Jets at Investors Group Field was "one of four outdoor games in the NHL this season." They are "profitable and they’re popular -- on site, if not necessarily on television for non-Winter Classic games." Wyshynski: "It is time for the NHL to think bigger, bolder and, most importantly, outside of its safety zone." That means "putting a game in a neutral site like South Bend or, say, Seattle." One of the main goals of the NHL’s Winter Classic series was to "bring its product to fans outside its circle of die-hards." Going outside the "obvious venues gets it back to that spirit" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/23).
'PEG OF MY HEART: SPORTSNET.ca's Chris Johnston wrote Winnipeg, the NHL's smallest market, became the "centre of the hockey universe" for a couple of days with the Heritage Classic. In addition to yesterday's game, the event featured Hockey HOFers Wayne Gretzky and former NHLer Teemu Selanne "posing for selfies with seemingly half the people who live here." Then there was the "massive civic celebration that occurred at Investors Group Field, where 30,000-plus packed the place on back-to-back days," for both Saturday's alumni game and yesterday's regular-season Oilers-Jets matchup (SPORTSNET.ca, 10/23). The ESPN NHL Coverage Twitter feed wrote, "Heritage Classic good evidence that there should be more outdoor games." NHL.com's Dave Stubbs: "Thanks to a great hockey town for a memorable weekend." CFL Blue Bombers broadcaster Bob Irving: "Of course we knocked it out of the park at Heritage Classic. It's Winnipeg--nobody does big events better than we do." Former NHLer Jim Slater: "Awesome to see Winnipeg in the spotlight of the Heritage Classic this weekend" (TWITTER.com, 10/24).