Jets to play Flames in outdoor NHL game at Regina's Mosaic Stadium in 2019
The game in October will be the first-ever regular season outdoor NHL game in Saskatchewan
Pucks will replace footballs at Mosaic Stadium in Regina when the National Hockey League takes over for one day later this year.
The NHL confirmed Tuesday that the Winnipeg Jets will face off against the Calgary Flames at Mosaic Stadium on Oct. 26, 2019.
The news was announced during the second intermission at another outdoor game, the 2019 Winter Classic from Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana.
The outdoor game will be the first-ever regular season outdoor NHL game in Saskatchewan.
A news release from Evraz Place, which manages the 33,000-seat stadium, said the event is expected to return about $15 million to the local economy through visitor spending.
Tourism Saskatchewan will contribute about $500,000 to hosting the event, while Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said the city will be announcing its contribution shortly. The Regina Hotel Association will also be contributing as a partner in the event.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLJets?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHLJets</a> share their excitement on playing the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Flames</a> in Regina, SK next season for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HeritageClassic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HeritageClassic</a> at Mosaic Stadium. <a href="https://t.co/aDY5efXpSu">pic.twitter.com/aDY5efXpSu</a>—@NHLJets
Tim Reid, president and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Limited, said he had been talking with NHL contacts since beginning in his new role in early 2018. Officials with the NHL were at the Riders' first playoffs game in the team's new stadium.
"I think everybody was excited and minutes after they walked away, they knew this would be a great venue," Reid said.
"We're just so excited to be able to host Winnipeg and Calgary and in our backyard and in this great stadium."
Reid said he had yet to hear of any details on ticket pricing, but that the NHL has said it will be consistent with pricing in the market. Those tickets details, as well as specifics on other events that may take place in Regina in the lead-up to the game, will be announced in the future.
Fans drawn to outdoor matches, says Pats rep
Phil Andrews, a spokesperson for the Regina Pats junior hockey team, expects the game to sell out. He thinks fans will be drawn to the idea of an outdoor match.
"I think there's the nostalgia part of it, everybody that grew up playing hockey — you start by playing outside, it just kind of brings you back to the roots of it," said Andrews.
"I think we'd be happy to be involved in any way and we're going to have those discussions with the NHL," said Andrews.
The Pats tried to organize its own outdoor games at Mosaic last February but they were ultimately cancelled.
Andrews said they were called off due to concerns over weather rather than poor ticket sales.
He thinks October is a better time to hold an outdoor game in Saskatchewan.
"If it's anything like October was this year, I think it's a perfect temperature, you know, minus 10, something like that, where you're not going to freeze as a fan or as a player and you still have the ability to put the ice in and keep it cold and frozen," said Andrews.
Similar event in Winnipeg sold out
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said the event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city.
"This is a heck of a way to start a new year," said Fougere, as he pointed out that Regina has hosted other sporting events, such as the Grey Cup and the Memorial Cup. The NHL announcement brings a new level of exposure for the city, he said.
"We'll be showcasing this stadium in Canada, North America and around the world. They'll see this is a world class facility and this would lead to better things in the future."
Winnipeg's Investors Group Field sold out its 33,240 seats when it hosted the last NHL Heritage Classic in 2016.
Reid said he's expecting a similarly huge turnout for Saskatchewan's game, in a province which he said embraces sports and sporting pride.
"I think if we put the energy behind this that we're known for in Saskatchewan ... I think this is going to be one of the best outdoor hockey games that the NHL has ever seen."