It all started way back in 1954, the Detroit Red Wings took on the Marquette Prison Pirates for the first outdoor NHL game. The game was an exhibition game, and was played in Marquette Michigan. But something started that day, that wouldn’t come to be until 2003 when Montreal and Edmonton played outdoors in the Heritage Classic. The Canadiens walked away with the 4-3 win. In 2011, Montreal once again played in the Heritage Classic, but this time they would matchup with the Calgary Flames. The Flames beat them in a very deciding fashion, 4-0.
The Winter Classic however, started in 2008 when the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins squared off in New York. The Penguins escaped with a 2-1 win in a shootout. The following season, we saw the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Chicago Blackhawks on Wrigley Field, 6-4. Then it was Boston, coming up big in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 at Fenway. 2011, Heinz Field, the Washington Capitals downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. Then in 2012, the New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2.
Obviously the NHL has taken this idea and decided to run with it. The outdoor aspect of the game is just so different, that it just draws attention. But has the NHL taken it too far this season? Six outdoor games are scheduled to be played this season. Is that overkill? Are they going to lose the touch, and the significance of being able to see your favorite team skate outdoors in the sun on New Years Day? Who needs the Rose Bowl anyway?
This season, the NHL have six games scheduled to be played outdoors. The Winter Classic will be played in Ann Arbor at the Big House, between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Winter Classic will be played on January 1st.
The second outdoor game will be played at Dodger Stadium between the Los Angeles Kings, and the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks and Kings will square off in the first of the Stadium Series games. I’m still unsure of how this is going to work, but I guess we’ll see. I’m sure they have some tricks up their sleeves. The game is scheduled for January 25th.
The third game will be another in the Stadium Series, and it will be played on January 26th. The game will see the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils face off in Yankee Stadium.
The New York Rangers will then play another game in Yankee Stadium on the 29th of January against the New York Islanders.
Soldier Field will be packed when the Pittsburgh Penguins come into town on March 1st to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. This will be the final Stadium Series game, and more than likely the most hyped of them all. This is going to be a good one to watch.
Finally, the 6th game is the Heritage Classic, which will see the Ottawa Senators matching up against the Vancouver Canucks, The game will take place at the BC Place on March 2nd.
So there you have it, 6 outdoor games in the NHL in a little over 2 months. Is it too much? Does it lose it’s touch if done too much? Or would you rather see more outdoor games and a chance to see your teams playing in them? I have to admit, I’m quite a sucker for a good throw back jersey. What do you think?
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