By Allan Muir
On the morning that the NHL confirmed the details for the 2014 Winter Classic, rumors started flying about additional outdoor games…and one gained immediate traction.
Moments after NHL COO John Collins spoke at the Winter Classic presser about the possibility for additional outdoor games to be added to the schedule as soon as next season, outspoken player agent Allan Walsh tweeted that a “deal is done” for Dodger Stadium to host an event in 2014.
Walsh referenced a report from The Fourth Period stating that the Los Angeles Kings will host an unnamed opponent as part of a bicoastal doubleheader for Hockey Day in America.
“There is some belief that the NHL will stage both outdoor games on the same day, possibly on Hockey Day in America, with the game in the East (likely NYC, around 1pm ET) kicking things off, followed by the game at Dodger Stadium (possibly starting at 1pm PT, 4pm ET).”
There are sure to be questions about watering down the outdoor concept with additional games and the viability of outdoor ice in Southern California in February. But we’ve seen the Frozen Fury preseason games played in Las Vegas and hey, it’s not like the indoor ice in L.A. is revered for its high quality. So yeah, it’s exciting to think about.
Still, it seems like an awful lot to put together during a season that is likely to be interrupted by an Olympic break. You don’t suppose all these additional festivities, which also are rumored to include a revived Heritage Classic game in Canada, could just be a back-up plan in case plans for Sochi fall through, do you? Or maybe a bit of leverage to show the IOC and IIHF that the NHL and NHLPA have their own attention-grabbing, money-making opportunities for February, 2014 that don’t involve shutting down the league for two weeks and sending their top players halfway around world? Maybe it is just coincidence that these stories resurface days ahead of Olympic planning meetings this week. Guess we’ll see.