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Added March 21st, 2016 by Ian
NHL

NHL schedules another four outdoor games for 2017

The average NHL arena holds between 18,000 and 21,000 for a hockey game, so the league feels it’s hit the jackpot by selling as many as 100,000 tickets at once for its outdoor contests. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently announced that the league would be holding another four games outdoors in 2017. The league set a record for attendance back on January 1 of 2014 when 105,491 fans showed up at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan to see the Toronto Maple Leafs edge the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout.

The previous attendance record of 71,217 was set six years earlier when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The four games in the 2016/17 campaign, which is the NHL’s 100th anniversary season, will be named the Heritage Classic, the Centennial Classic, the Stadium Series and the Winter Classic. The first game will actually take place on Sunday, October 23rd of this year when the weather can still be relatively warm.

This game will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the Investors Group Field and is the NHL Heritage Classic. The game will feature the hometown Winnipeg Jets taking on the Edmonton Oilers. Investors Group Field is also the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL (Canadian Football League). Winnipeg has never played an outdoor game while the Oilers lost 4-3 against the Montreal Canadiens at the Heritage Classic back in 2003.

The NHL Centennial Classic will be a rematch of the 2014 Winter Classic as it features the Maple Leafs hosting the Red Wings at Toronto’s BMO Field which is the home to the Canadian National Soccer Team and Toronto of Major League Soccer (MLS). This game will face off on New Year’s Day as the Leafs are also celebrating their 100th birthday and it will be called the NHL Centennial Classic.

The action then moves to the American Midwest as the NHL Winter Classic will see the St. Louis Blues hosting the neighbouring Chicago Blackhawks at Busch Stadium on Monday, January 2, 2017, which is just a day after the Leafs vs Red Wings tilt. The Blues will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year and it’ll be the team’s first outdoor fixture while it will be the fifth for Chicago.

Finally, fans will see the NHL Stadium Series take place at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the home of the NFL’s Steelers, as the Penguins will host state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. This contest is scheduled for Saturday, February 18th and both of these teams are also celebrating their 50th year in the NHL.

 
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