01 January 2011

NHL Winter Classic: Possible Future Venues

There is no doubt that the Winter Classic has been a great success for the NHL. What was initially thought of as a gimmick has strengthened American interest in hockey while also scoring strong ratings for NBC. As we have seen the Winter Classic played in Buffalo, Chicago, Boston, and Pittsburgh this year, where could classics be played in the future?

1. New York City, New York
The Winter Classic has to play at New York. In fact, I'm surprised that there has not been a New York hosted Winter Classic yet. And you have to play at Yankee Stadium, that would be just totally cool. Yes the New Meadowlands Stadium could host more people but there is a reason they have not played the Winter Classic at Soldier Field or Gillette Stadium even though Yankee Stadium is currently tied up with the Pinstripe Bowl (but that could see its date changed). Having the Rangers, one of the more popular teams in the NHL plus an Original Six squad, hosting an outdoor game would be a great boon for the league.

2. Detroit, Michigan
It is Hockeytown, after all. The Red Wings are one of the most popular teams in the NHL with one of the most passionate fan bases so it would make too much sense having a Winter Classic in the Motor City. Now while Comerica Park does not have the aura that a Fenway or a Wrigley has but it is still considered to be a great ballpark. Did we mention Hockeytown?

3. University of Michigan
Speaking of the Red Wings, you hear about Michigan Stadium being a possibility as well. The largest stadium in the country and cold conditions could make a Winter Classic here pretty damn awesome. the key though would be if the stadium would sell out but I don't see why it couldn't if you pair Detroit with say Chicago or even Toronto, which isn't that far from Detroit. Maybe NBC wouldn't love showcasing a Canadian team but I'd still see this being a great TV draw.

4. Penn State University
Keeping with the trend of playing at college football venues, playing a game at Beaver Stadium would really show off the growing power of the NHL if it were to be sold out in a town that is not the home of any NHL team. Imagine how intense an inter-Pennsylvania Winter Classic would be. One with as much fighting in the stands as on the ice.

5. Denver, Colorado
A true winter haven if I have ever seen any. Imagine the weather in Denver for the Winter Classic. And do not forget about the air that could play a factor. The Avalanche surprisingly don't have great attendance but how awesome would an outdoor game in Denver be?

6. Washington, D.C.
Now nobody would get excited about playing a Winter Classic at Nationals Park or FedExField in Landover. Call me crazy, but what would be more nostalgic that if an outdoor game was played on the Mall in our capital in the shadow of the Washington Monument? Not exactly a logistical pleasure but the interest in the Winter Classic will wane as the NHL continues to go to stadiums across the nation but if they can play a game in the Red Square in Moscow, I think they can make it work on the Mall. A pipe dream yes but completely and utterly sweet.

7. Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Wild do not have the cache of an Original Six team or a star player known across the nation but it would offer terrific frigid conditions and a beautiful ballpark in the brand new Target Field or the slightly older TCF Bank Stadium. Or they could play at a deflated Metrodome


  1. National Mall please! Nothing would ever beat that. Nothing.

  2. If not next year it will happen in the next few, the Winter Classic will be in Ohio Stadium. The Blue Jackets will play the Red Wings. There will also be a second game with Ohio State playing Michigan.

  3. Wasn't Jerry Jones making noise about hosting a Winter Classic at the new Cowboys Stadium? Not a traditional "winter" market, but North Texas can get chilly in the middle of winter. And it would be great for marketing. I also like the Minnesota idea, but you didn't mention the new college football stadium in Minneapolis (forget the name) as a possible venue.