SUNRISE, FL – The Winter Classic has been an undeniable success for the NHL over the last five years, so it makes sense that the league might just want to expand on that outdoor success story.
According to a Fourth Period Magazine report, the NHL is considering multiple outdoor games aside from the Winter Classic starting as soon as next season. Several hockey sources have confirmed to CSNNE.com that it’s been seriously discussed since the beginning of the 48-game abbreviated season as a logical way to build back some of the revenues lost during the painful NHL lockout.
The rescheduled 2014 Winter Classic set to be staged at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor, Michigan between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs should break revenue records and become a merchandising bonanza for the NHL.
The Fourth Period said that both Yankee Stadium in New York City and Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles are settings being eyed for outdoor hockey games next season. A source indicated to CSNNE.com that any outdoor game in Boston involving the Bruins over the next few years “would most likely be played at Gillette Stadium” and that Boston is “in the discussion for another outdoor game in the near future.”
Based on the popularity of the Bruins franchise in Boston and the wild success story of the Winter Classic hosted at Fenway Park three years ago, there is little doubt that hosting a hockey game at a large venue like the New England Patriots home field would be a coup for the NHL, the Boston Bruins franchise and a Kraft family that would be more than happy to host the hockey game.
It’s still unclear when the other outdoor games would be played and if there would be some kind of connection to the Winter Classic, but expect the NHL to tread carefully with the idea as there’s a strong desire not to kill the golden goose that’s given the league ratings, advertisers and much-needed buzz over the last few years.