Winnipeg to host outdoor NHL game in 2016
Hockey fans in Manitoba are excited to hear Winnipeg will host an outdoor NHL game, either the Heritage Classic or the Winter Classic, in 2016.
A spokesman for True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Winnipeg Jets franchise, confirmed on Tuesday that Investors Group Field will play host to the winter event.
Back in March, True North said some preliminary discussions had taken place with the hockey league.
"Both parties are very interested in making this event happen for Winnipeg and so we hope to have something finalized in the near future as both parties continue to have those discussions," True North's Scott Brown told CBC News at the time.
Hockey organizer excited
The announcement has surprised and delighted area hockey organizers like Darren Zembik in St. Andrews.
"That's great. Now we can have a Heritage Classic at St. Andrews Community Club in 2016 as well for the little kids," he said Tuesday.
The NHL isn't afraid of Manitoba's harsh winter weather, said Zembik.
"I didn't think anyone would think that we would have it here because of the cold weather. But I think that's just going to be awesome," he said.
"You look at the Grey Cup that was in Saskatchewan. Look how good that did."
Heritage or Winter Classic?
The 2014 Heritage Classic will be played March 2 in Vancouver between the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks.
There has been two other Heritage Classic games, featuring Canadian NHL teams:
- 2003 in Edmonton between the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens.
- 2011 in Calgary between the Flames and the Canadiens.
A similar outdoor event, called the Winter Classic, is held on or near New Year's Day in the United States between NHL teams.
The first was hosted in 2008 by the Buffalo Sabres who faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Winter Classic has been held annually ever since and has only featured American-based NHL teams.
However, that will change in 2014, when the Toronto Maple Leafs are scheduled to visit Detroit to take on the Red Wings Jan. 1 at the stadium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. It has a capacity of more than 109,900.