Calgary, Pittsburgh to host NHL Winter Classics
Commissioner Bettman expected to unveil details at Friday news conference
For the first time, the NHL Winter Classic will be contested in Canada and the United States, Hockey Night in Canada confirmed Thursday night.
League commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to make the official announcement at a 2 p.m. ET news conference Friday in Chicago, site of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final on Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).
Pittsburgh's Heinz Field will play host to the New Year's Day game next January between the hometown Penguins and the Washington Capitals, while Montreal will travel to McMahon Stadium in Calgary in February to battle the Flames.
McMahon Stadium has a seating capacity of 35,650 but was expanded to 46,020 for the 2009 Grey Cup game.
It's believed the reason for the separate dates is because the NHL's ice-making trailer can only be used at one venue.
McMahon Stadium, site of the 1988 Winter Olympic opening ceremony, also has a large crown in the field that would pose a challenge for Dan Craig and his ice-making team.
The CBC suggested the doubleheader to the NHL, with the second game to take place in Canada after the success of the Winter Classic the last two years.
On New Year's Day 2010, Boston's Marco Sturm slammed home the overtime winner after taking a perfect pass from teammate Patrice Bergeron to give the Bruins a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in front of a sellout gathering of 38,112 at Fenway Park.
In 2009, the Detroit Red Wings scored five unanswered goals en route to a 6-4 victory before 40,818 at Chicago's Wrigley Field.
The inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 saw Buffalo host Sidney Crosby and the Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Edmonton and Montreal played in the Heritage Classic, an outdoor game held at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium in 2003.