NHL commissioner sows doubt about Ottawa outdoor game in 2017
But City Hall source says outdoor game 'still alive' after positive meeting with Ottawa Senators
The National Hockey League is considering moving on from Ottawa as a potential host city for an outdoor game next year, according to a report on the league's website.
The league and the Ottawa Senators had been looking into playing a game on Parliament Hill, but the federal department of Canadian Heritage suggested the logistics and security issues in holding an outdoor hockey game there are too complex.
With that, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told NHL.com he hopes to find another city to celebrate what the league calls Founders Day — Nov. 26, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the day the league formed.
"So we're going to see if we want to play a game on Founders Day somewhere else, and by that I mean in a different city," Bettman is quoted as saying. "We haven't made any decisions."
Ottawa idea 'not dead,' source says
But an Ottawa City Hall source with knowledge of meetings between Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk last week said plans for an outdoor game are "not dead" and characterized those meetings as "very positive."
The Ottawa Senators would not comment on the NHL.com report on Monday evening.
Senators president Cyril Leeder had previously said the Parliament Hill venue was the team's only real option for an outdoor game, but Watson met with the Senators last week to see if it was still possible elsewhere.
The most likely alternative venue would be TD Place Stadium at Lansdowne Park.
Preliminary talks for hosting a game in Ottawa had focused on a different day, Dec. 19, 2017, which would have marked the 100th anniversary of the Senators' first NHL game.