The popularity of outdoor games and the potential for market growth likely inspired NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to host as many as possible. The upcoming Stadium Series will be interesting because it is a chance for the NHL to test the success of outdoor games. Los Angeles and Anaheim will play at Dodger Stadium on January 25th in what will be a very unorthodox outdoor game in California (but everyone wants to watch that game really because of the Ducks’ chrome-looking jerseys). The next day, the Devils and the Rangers will play at Yankee Stadium, followed by the Rangers taking on the Islanders on the 29th. These games will be interesting because they will lead up to the Super Bowl in New York on February 2nd. The last Stadium Series game will feature the Penguins and the Blackhawks at Soldier Field on March 1st. On top of these games, the NHL will continue its Heritage Classic, with the Ottawa Senators taking on the Vancouver Canucks at the BC Place.
However, the NHL is really banking on this year’s Winter Classic to set the outdoor game barrier. It will likely seee an attendance of well over 100,000 and will be centered around the Hockeytown Winter Festival and NHL Alumni Game.
This is the oppurunity the NHL has waited for. The upcoming WInter Classic will be the biggest yet and there is a chance for the league to attract many non-traditional hockey viewers.