NHL outdoor games set for Calgary, Pittsburgh
The Calgary Flames will host an outdoor game against the Montreal Canadiens in February, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed Friday.
The event is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 20, at McMahon Stadium, home of the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. It's being dubbed the Heritage Classic — the same name given to the last NHL outdoor match on Canadian soil, held in November 2003 between the Canadiens and the Oilers at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium.
Bettman also announced that the 2011 New Year's Day Winter Classic game will take place in Pittsburgh, with the Penguins hosting the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field, where the NFL's Steelers play.
CBC's Hockey Night in Canada will broadcast both outdoor games nationally.
"The Winter Classic in the United States has worked extraordinarily well for us," Bettman said at a news conference in Chicago, where the Stanley Cup final opens Saturday night. "We wanted to make sure that our fans in Canada knew we were paying attention to their interest and their desires as well."
McMahon Stadium seats 35,650, but it was expanded temporarily to 46,020 for the 2009 Grey Cup game.
The NHL hasn't committed to making the Canadian outdoor game an annual event similar to the Winter Classic it has hosted in the U.S. the last three years, most recently at Fenway Park in Boston.
"That's not something we've decided yet," said Bettman.
The 2010-11 regular-season openers were also revealed, with an unprecedented six teams set to begin their campaigns in Europe.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild will play a pair of games in Helsinki, Finland on Oct. 7 and 8, while the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks meet in Stockholm, Sweden on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, and the Boston Bruins and Phoenix Coyotes play in Prague on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10.
The North American schedule starts Thursday, Oct. 7, with a Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader. The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Canadiens, followed by the Edmonton Oilers against the visiting Flames.
CBC's annual Hockey Day in Canada festivities will happen on Saturday, Feb. 12, highlighted by an all-Canadian triple-header featuring Ottawa at Edmonton, Toronto at Montreal and Calgary at Vancouver.