Disclaimer: if you’re a fan of say, not the New York Rangers, your team may not have actually been given an outdoor game.

Last night TSN and ESPN both shared the news that NHL is going to have (queue Lebron James) not one outdoor game. Not two. Not three, not four, not five. But six, yes, six outdoor games next season.

Six. Six outdoor games.


Here’s what we’re looking at:

* Leafs / Red Wings will still be held on January first in Michigan at the Big House


* Ducks vs. Kings at Dodger Stadium, Jan. 25

I hope it’s 80 degrees out.

* Devils vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium, Jan. 26


* Islanders vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium, Jan 29

Oh don’t you patronize us Islanders fans. Looks like somebody got tossed a bone in the NY/NJ games. “Well, the rink is going to be up anyway, should we just let the Isles have a kick at the can too?”

Katie Strang of ESPN has more info on the games in the Bronx here.

* Penguins at Blackhawks, Soldier Field, March 1


* Senators at Canucks, BC Place, March 2

Gotta cash in on that historic Sens/Nucks rivalry I spose. By the way, here’s BC Place.

bc place

Neat! A mostly-indoors outdoor classic!

I understand what’s up here from the NHL’s perspective. X makes money, so we should do more X. But by the same token, sugar is excellent, and too much of it gives you diabetes.

I’m not really sure why the transition to more outdoor games had to be from one to six – I mean, one to three and I’m still tuning in. With six, there’s a decent chance I might actually miss one because the quality of the games isn’t all that great and hey, I’ll just catch the one next week, right? I think six takes it out of “bloggers complain about it” range and pushes it into the realm of “the general public complains about it.”

That said, I may not always have a finger perfectly on the pulse of how the general public feels on hockey issues because I mostly deal with people who are heavily involved in the sport every damn day. Those who aren’t so invested are more likely to think “hey cool, my team is going to be involved, I’m definitely going to go/watch/buy a jersey” or whatever.

I’m sure how much those outside the vicinity of the actual games care doesn’t really matter to the league – most of us will still tune in, even apathetically (ratings!), and those in the area will cash in on their chance to go.

But, I could see this hurting the NHL down the road. Once you’ve been to one and realize it costs a crap-ton and your view of the game isn’t all that great and the atmosphere, while really cool, isn’t worth the thousand dollars it just cost your family, I doubt you’ll be all that eager to attend the next one when it’s back in a year or two. (Or in the case of the Islanders/Rangers, two days later.)

But I suppose if the NHL spreads it around – here’s looking at you, Minnesota, St. Louis, Colorado and beyond – you could avoid hammering the same cities too much, and keep jamming cash in the leagues jeans. BEAT THAT GOLDEN GOOSE.

The whole thing kind of reminds me of seeing a deer in its natural habitat. It’s amazing. It’s rare, and graceful, and this is really cool. And then you live somewhere deer are abundant, and they’re ruining your lawn and running across the highway at night and just a damn inconvenience. And that’s where we might be heading with the outdoor games.

“At Yankee Stadium, tickets are more expensive and I can’t see the game as well? F*****g deer, man.” (Stick-tap to Louis CK.)

Comments (36)

  1. Why not 15? Fuck, if we are beating a dead horse, let’s use a sledge hammer. Let every team have a chance outside. Or better yet, from now on, Columbus has a retractable roof! There, now we covered it (get it?). Can we move on?

    • I think we need to go further. From now on all games are only played when the ponds are frozen in the backwoods. Bring the game home!

  2. Pensblog said it best.

    In two years, all NHL games will be outside, and there will be an Indoor Classic.

  3. I just don’t understand how these places will have ice. Last year in February during the All-Star game it rained in Ottawa. That artificial cooling will have to be extreme

  4. So stupid. Not to mention BC PLACE IS AN INDOOR STADIUM.

    • Retractable roof on BC Place since it was rebuilt

      • This isn’t the Rogers Centre here… the “retractable roof” is a small sphincter above the field. It’s still an indoor stadium. Even the Rogers Centre is more outdoor than that.

  5. If Columbus is ever consistently worth a shit, a game at the horseshoe with the Wings or Pens would be outstanding. I never would’ve seriously suggested this if there were only one or two of these a year, but as long as they’re giving them out like candy…

    That meme of Oprah is awesome, btw.

  6. Hmm. How about a Hockey Blogger Winter Classic in DGB’s back yard? I’m sure some media company would sponsor it.

  7. I’m baffled by the Ducks/Kings match-up in late January. Omaha tried to pull off two outdoor games the weekend of Feb. 9. The temps were in the low 50s and not a cloud in the sky. Despite the refrigeration system, the sun intensity DESTROYED the dark areas of the ice (creases, blue lines, and ads were puddles). They barely finished the USHL game, and then had to delay the U of North Dakota/UN-Omaha game until an hour after the sun went down in order for the ice to be playable. It was still terrible.

    What are they going to do in LA, shade the ice? I hope they aren’t planning any activities on the ice in LA prior to the NHL game.

  8. Nice Louis CK reference!

    I get having one Winter classic and one Heritage Classic, but anything more is overkill.

  9. Interesting that the NHL has the Rangers competing with themselves.

    While my druthers would be to go see the Rangers-Isles for the juxtoposition of seeing the Manhattanites vs the soon-to-be-Brooklynites in da’ Bronx, the only point to seeing them play NJ would be if I got sold out of the Rangers-Isles (hey, isn’t that the raison d’etre of NJ anyway?) As there were game-day Devils playoff tickets available last year, I don’t see them selling out the Stadium.

    Rangers-Isles on a Wednesday? Under the lights, I guess. While MSG is an indoor-transit hub, the Stadium’s mass transit is all outside. Do I want to wait on the station outside for a 4-train running the late-night schedule? Which I would, like most Islanders fans, have to ironically take to MSG to catch the LIRR. Me-thinks this was not thought out with the fans in mind.

  10. Awesome, we get a year of listening to people talk about the glorious history of the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators. A combined 60+ years in the NHL and zero Stanley cups. Plus about 30 different uniforms to choose from to wear. I can’t wait.

  11. Gotta pay for the lookout somehow I guess

    • It was only the players that lost money. The owners were still collecting TV revenues during the lockout (hence no urgency in getting anything settled) and the NHL only lost their 100k deposit for cancelling the game at the Big House. Worse than paying for the lockout, it’s Bettman continuing to line the owner’s pockets at the expense of the players and the game.

  12. I’ll probably tune in for the game at the Big House, don’t care about the others.

  13. Just like the NHL. went overboard in expansion for the cash and now draining the outdoor game cash cow.

  14. Mmm, this bowl of soup is really good. Here, let me get 5 other bowls and a gallon water and we can all have some.

  15. Well since the NHL has ruined this completely… lets do a Florida/Tampa Bay outdoor game, Phoenix/Dallas as well…

  16. Dear NHL,

    There are other teams than the Penguins, Rangers, Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Flyers.

    I’m not a fan, but there’s a certain team with 24 (TWENTY-FOUR) Stanley Cups out there somewhere.

    • They had a Heritage Classic already. Leafs are the first non-US team to play the Winter Classic.

    • “I’m not a fan, but there’s a certain team with 24 (TWENTY-FOUR) Stanley Cups out there somewhere.”

      Yeah.. they’ve been in TWO already.

  17. The best part will be when the game in Vancouver is rain delayed for 3 weeks straight until it’s finally played when there is only a small drizzle, and the refs will skate with umbrellas. Fans will be dry, though.

  18. i wonder what the jersey situation will be. will these teams be making alternate jerseys for all of these one-off games? that will be the big, individual team cashgrab.

  19. …Or they’d just close the roof.


  20. Fuck you guys. Im excited as fuck about watching a game at Dodger stadium next year.

    • And that would be great, really, except that Los Angeles’ average LOW temp in January is about 50 degrees. They’re going to have to play on waterskis.

      • …because every winter classic has had excellent outdoor conditions too?

        50 degrees at night without the issue of sun should be more than adequate to play an outdoor game in LA. Or are you just against an outdoor game in LA because it’s not a traditional hockey market?

  21. I don’t know why everyone is hating on this so much. I’m a Vancouver fan and season ticket holder, and I’m excited to see a game in BC Place whether the roof is open or not. Having 60,000 hockey fans in one place watching a game can’t be that bad a thing. Anyone who doesn’t want one of these in their own city (whether it’s the only one in a given year or 1 of 6) isn’t much of a hockey fan in my eyes.

    The NHL is a gate driven league, not a TV driven league and these events are going to drive gates like crazy. I think the BC Place event alone will collect around $6M in gates on a $100/ticket average (which is probably low). With large capacity stadiums in high interest markets, it seems like a no brainer for the league to have these games. I think more than 6 in a season might be too much (I would think 4 is a more sustainable number per year and I suspect the 6 is a makeup for the lockout year), but that’s an average of one home game every 5 years for every team in the league (and, before you say it, I know that certain markets will never host one of these games)… I don’t know about other hockey fans, but I’d get excited about one of these games every 5 years at BC Place to the point that it would still be an event I’d be looking forward to for the other 4 years.

    And those saying that the specialness of the Winter Classic will be ruined are forgetting that it’s still on Jan 1 (when almost everyone isn’t working), will have 100,000 people attending in an historic stadium and will have the 24/7 treatment running up to it… Where HBO will have the opportunity to showcase Phil Kessel’s sparkling personality… on second thought… maybe it is ruined.

    • Your second sentence is the key. 1 outdoor game a year, even another nationally televised CHI/DET or PIT/DET or whatever and ALL hockey fans will watch it. Throw 5 more of ‘em out there, and meh, people will watch their team’s outdoor game(s) but skip the others. They won’t ADD any viewers or fans, just costs.

      I could get on board with 6 games, if it was done as wall to wall oudoor hockey all on one day. All following times are EST. Do Leafs/Red Wings starting at 10AM. When that’s done, toss it over to Devils/Rangers at 1PM…. Penguins/Blackhawks at 4PM… Senators/Canucks at 7PM… lastly, Ducks/Kings at 10PM. How awesome would that be on Jan 1?

  22. I’m sure someone mentioned it somewhere but both Yankee Stadium games are during Super Bowl week (which is being held less than a half hour away). It’s actually very wise to take advantage of all that press in town. Overkill or not those two games are smart.

  23. Here’s the thing, NBC has their hands all over the Winter Classic, which means that it’s only going to take place in large EST television markets. NBC also wont give a Winter classic to a Canadian city. That’s what these extra dates are for. Now fans in smaller markets and non traditional town will have the chance to see a game in their local football stadium. In the end this is for the fans who’s town will never host the Winter Classic, and I think its a good thing.

  24. Eh. Just another bunch of games I wont watch. Im a NYR season ticket holder, and all this does it give me the chance to resell some tickets at a profit. I dont go to hockey games for the “show” or the “experience.” I go to see good hockey games [insert "then why are you an NYR fan?" joke here]. Outdoor games in stadiums are awful hockey games to watch on TV, and even worse to see live.

    I understand the NHLs marketing needs here, and I understand there are probably a ton of people who think its a fun time to buy yet another “collectors” jerseys, go sit in the cold, get sloshed, and not see anything resembling a hockey game. But hey, the memories will last a lifetime…I mean who could forget that one outdoor game…um…the one where the guy wore the hat. Wasnt that memorable!

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