According to TSN, the NHL is finalizing a deal that would make it so there are six outdoor games next season. It would be known as the “Stadium Series” and the series would kick off with the Winter Classic on January 1st, which is going to be at Michigan Stadium featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
ESPN is reporting that the NHL hopes to have everything finalized in the next two weeks. They also stated that:
The details of the various games — significant undertakings for the NHL and the teams involved — remain fluid and there remains the potential for change based on team approval, licensing and contractual issues with the various facilities.
Among the new games will be the first outdoor regular-season game in California, with theAnaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings set to do battle at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25.
That game will be the first of three outdoor games planned for the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The ambitious plan would latch onto the media and fan attention in the New York area during Super Bowl week by having the New York Rangers play two outdoor games at Yankee Stadium — against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 26, and New York Islanders on Jan. 29.
The final two outdoor adventures would take place during Hockey Weekend Across America, which runs Feb. 28 to March 2. The Pittsburgh Penguins will take on the Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field on March 1
It is unclear whether this new “Stadium Series” will become a staple or if this is a special occasion to try and grow the game after the lockout. Personally, I think that this dilutes the Winter Classic and makes it so the games aren’t as special. Yes, it does give more fans a better chance to see their teams play outdoors, but they seem to be keeping the same teams involved. Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the New York Rangers have already played in outdoor games. The Rangers will be playing two of them in a span of three games, which just seems absurd.
I understand they want to have multiple games in New York because the Super Bowl is in New York, but why not have the Islanders host one of the games against the New Jersey Devils and then the Rangers host one against the Boston Bruins? This just seems like a huge money grab and that the NHL is begging for attention. Maybe if the league stopped locking out they wouldn’t have to ruin the one spectacle they had going for them, the Winter Classic.
[Photo via: @LD10]