The Bridgestone game will feature the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens and will take place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on New Year’s Day. The first of the Coors Light Stadium series games will be between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks at the University of Minnesota, while the second game will be between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field in Denver.
The game at Foxborough marks the second NHL Winter Classic contest to take place in Boston, with the Bruins facing off against the Flyers at Fenway Park in 2010. This time, it should be a doozy.
“Those two teams (the Bruins and Canadiens) have played each other more times than they’ve played any other opponents in their respective history,” Bettman said. “The renewal of the rivalry on New Year’s Day should be memorable.”
The first of the Coors Light games will take place on Hockey Day in America (February 21) and should be a big deal for the State of Hockey.
“It’s a great day for our organization,” Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “It is a great day for the State of Hockey. Everyone knows we’ve been pursuing an outdoor game for a while, and it is a great day to finally be able to announce we’re hosting one. Our fans deserve it. Certainly our players are excited to play in it. Our staff is excited to put on a good show.”
The Minnesota contest marks the fourth time the Blackhawks have played in an outdoor game and the third year in a row they’ve done so.
Meanwhile, the Avalanche and Red Wings will face off in a storied retro rivalry that many mid-1990s fans will remember fondly. They met four times in the post-season from 1996-2002 and their game at Coors Field should be a fun one.
As has been previously reported, a fourth outdoor game – the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg – did not make the schedule.
“We were unable to agree with the [Winnipeg] Blue Bombers on a date that would make each comfortable,” Bettman said. “Hopefully we can schedule something for the following season. No firm plans to announce other than it’s something we’d like to do because we very much wanted an outdoor game next season in Winnipeg.”