Monday, January 3, 2011

Ranking Host Cities for the Next Winter Classic’s Dan Shaughnessy wrote an article today saying the NHL should get rid of the Winter Classic. I do agree this year’s game was unfortunate with the rain, but the Winter Classic is a great idea and should be continued. Now that this year’s game is over, it’s time to start thinking of future sites. Below is my rankings for possible sites of next year’s (and future years) Winter Classic.

First off, I want to spread around who gets to play in the Winter Classic. So sorry Montreal, Edmonton, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburg, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia. If you played in the game before, then you are out of consideration (Montreal played Edmonton in the 2003 Heritage Classic which was the predecessor to the Winter Classic). The next issue becomes warm weather cities? I am not suggesting the game be played outside in the 70s (although apparently they have the technology for this) but what about teams with Dome’s nearby? The Stars playing in Cowboy Stadium sounds cool, but what about the Lightning in Tropicana Field (Rays)? I decided since Detroit hosted the Frozen Four in a dome to include domes. I know this will lose some of the appeal of having the game played in cold and snow and my ratings will reflect that.

Ohio Stadium (Columbus):

My number one choice would be to see a hockey game played in the Horseshoe. The Blue Jackets have had a great following since they arrived in Columbus and I could see 100,000 people coming out to see them play in the cities most beloved stadium. Just last month, Michigan played Michigan State in the Big House which was a huge success. So we know the game could work in a large college stadium. The issue I see though is the success of the team. They have only made it to the playoffs once (lost in Round 1) and do not have many household names. The NHL wants to promote this event and needs stars or good teams to do that.

Rogers Center (Toronto):

Obviously the Roof of the Stadium would be open for this. Toronto is a hockey crazed town and they would embrace this game. The stadium has already hosted games for North America’s 3 other major sports (MLB, NFL/CFL and NBA) so getting Hockey would be a nice way to round it off. Toronto is Canada’s biggest city and the Maple Leafs are Canada’s favorite team. Maple Leafs are an original 6 team. I see no reason why this game wouldn’t work.

BC Place (Vancouver):

Vancouver has been lobbying to get the Winter Classic played there. We know the city is capable of handling big events after hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. The game being played inside the inflatable dome wouldn’t be as exciting but getting the game into Canada for the first time would be a plus.

Cowboy Stadium (Dallas):

Jerry Jones has wasted no time getting large events to come to his palace of a stadium. Cowboys stadium has been open for just two years already will have hosted the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star game and annually hosts the Cotton Bowl and a College Football Kickoff game. The stadium can host big events and would have enough time between the Hockey Game and the Cotton Bowl (played on January 7th this year).

McMahon Stadium (Calgary):

McMahon Stadium is home the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders and is located on the University of Calgary. Even though it only holds approximately 46,000 (with temporary seating) it is Canada’s 5th largest stadium. The stadium has hosted the Largest Grey Cup game ever (2009) so should be more then capable of hosting an event like the Winter Classic.

Target Field (Minneapolis/St Paul):

Target Field is the new home of Minnesota Twins. Getting Minnesota the Winter Classic would be great and hosting it either in Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium (University of Minnesota Football) would work. I picked Target Field because it was designed better to handle the cold then TCF was as we found out this NFL season.

Yankee Stadium (New York):

I was thinking this would be one of the top choices for next year. It’s North America’s biggest market, home of an Original 6 team playing in a brand new stadium. However, until they move the day the Pinstripe Bowl is played, there won’t be time to set up the field for another game. So would they move it to the New Meadowlands or Citi Field? I don’t think so, I think the NHL would prefer Yankee Stadium. Until they move the date of the bowl game or the Winter Classic, Yankee Stadium will be low on this list.

University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale/Phoenix):

The University of Phoenix Stadium has hosted a Super Bowl and a NCAA National Championship games. It has also hosted Wrestlemania proving it can be used for more than just Football games. Having hockey’s biggest regular season event played in the dessert would be a little odd. Also, there is a chance the Coyotes could move back to Winnipeg. If they move back, then they can play in the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers new stadium expected to be complete in 2012

Frank Clair Stadium (Ottawa):

Frank Clair Stadium is the former home of the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders, Ottawa Renegades and most likely home for an expansion Ottawa team in 2013. The stadium only seats 26,000 which is only five thousand more than Montreal’s regular stadium.

Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay) :

I am as a big of a fan of this stadium as you will find. But I do not see this as a likely place for the game. The main reason is the Lightning played in the stadium regularly from 1993-1996 (see picture) which would eliminate the novelty of the event. The stadium does have the NHL Attendance with approximately 28,000.


  1. Wow, Frank Clair Stadium is TINY!!! Anyways, here's my rankings of the ones you rank above.

    1. Toronto - big stadium, guaranteed major atmosphere

    2. Yankee Stadium - it's shiny new.

    3. Target Field/TCF - ditto.

    4. Calgary - 'cause nothing ever happens in calgary.

    5. Columbus - great big stadium (though the upper deck sight lines ain't worth 80 bucks) but the Blue Jackets are awful.

  2. No domes, the point of the winter classic is for it to be played outside. If you play it in a dome then it defeats the purpose of having it so warmer cities cant host it. I agree with your point Noffke about teams that have played in it to an extent. The NHL will always go with a game that will give you higher ratings (ex. orginal 6 matchups, Ovechkin vs Crosby, etc), but then again i dont feel like watching Crosby play every other New Years Day. I hear that Canada may get it soon, most likely Montreal vs Tronto. Also here is an idea, have the game in Minniapolis at Target Field/TCF and have the Wild play the Dallas Stars (use to be the Minnesota North Stars). They can wear the old North Stars jerseys. Another city you didnt mention is Denver. The Avs are a good young team and those Avs/Red Wings games were good.

  3. I like your ideas, and as a Coyote fan I loved that you brought up U of P Stadium, as unlikely as it is...
    My favorite MLB team is the Yankees, and I think the best place would be Yankee Stadium and do Rangers vs Devils. Its a pretty good rivalry, and if NJ can pick up their play, they're both pretty decent teams.
    Then I would have to go with Target Field/TCF and Ohio as a tie for 2nd. I really loved Michigan vs Michigan State at the Big House, that'd be cool for Ohio to do it too.
    Canada shouldn't get the Winter Classic, they have the Heritage Classic. Keep the Winter Classic American, ya know?

  4. Being from Canada, the US shouldn't have hockey at all ya know? Maybe being a Coyotes fan you could watch a few games so the rest of the NHL does not have to incur your teams debt, YA KNOW! Next Heritage is pretty close to Canada with the best team....