NHL Winter Classic: Venues That Should Host in the Future
On January 2, hockey fans all over the world will tune in to watch the fifth installment of the NHL Winter Classic.
We've seen the game played in Buffalo, Chicago, Boston and Pittsburgh. This edition will feature two bitter rivals, the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers, facing off inside the confines of Citizens Bank Park in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Winter Classic has become a staple in the NHL and has been an acclaimed success, so it is safe to say that there will be many more to follow.
So with this in mind, let's look at some other locations that should host the Winter Classic.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
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Location: Denver, Colorado
In the wake of Tebow Time, many may have forgotten that there is a young and exciting hockey team around the corner from the Broncos home. The Colorado Avalanche have shown some serious promise. What better way to display that than by hosting the Winter Classic? Denver's weather is perfect for the outdoor game as it's literally a mile high.
Potential Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche
This was once one of the NHL's greatest rivalries. There have been flashes of it since its heyday of the late '90s, but if there was ever a stage set for it to erupt again, this would be it.
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Location: Seattle, Washington
Capacity: up to 72,000
Amid all the talk of relocation in the NHL, Seattle has constantly been talked about as a possible recipient of a team. A Winter Classic would provide citizens a prime opportunity to show how viable an NHL team could be.
Potential Matchup: San Jose Sharks vs. Vancouver Canucks
For Vancouver, it's a short trip across the border to Seattle and for San Jose, it's not too much more strenuous. For the NHL, it's an opportunity to stray from using the same East coast teams and expand its Winter Classic horizons.
TCF Bank Stadium
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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnesota is the self-proclaimed "State of Hockey," with good reason, so it makes sense for a future Winter Classic to occur here. The home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and once-temporary home of the Vikings after their stadium collapsed is a perfect location. The weather would no doubt be prime for an outdoor venue and every seat would be filled.
Potential Matchup: Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild
Could you ask for a better scenario? The team that left Minnesota against the team that took its place. Minnesotans have never sat well the the North Stars relocation to Dallas and the Winter Classic would be their chance to really stick it to the boys from Big D.
The last and most important question would be, "Who gets to wear the North Stars jerseys?"
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Location: Arlington, Texas
Capacity: 80,000 to 111,000
Everything is bigger in Texas. Especially its football stadiums. The home of the Dallas Cowboys is the largest domed structure on the planet and is home to the largest HD monitor in the world. Imagine watching a hockey game on a screen that's just as big as the ice it's being played on!
Although the weather in north Texas isn't made for an outdoor venue, for 1.1 billion dollars, Cowboys Stadium should be able to pull it off.
Potential Matchup: Minnesota Wild vs. Dallas Stars
For the same reasons as the previous slide, this matchup works, plus it would have the ability to have one of the largest crowds to ever watch a hockey game.
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
The fact that there hasn't been a Winter Classic here surprises me. Michigan is one of the top states in terms of its loyalty to hockey and would be an instant draw. The Big House would serve as an ideal venue, as it holds a large number of people and its January climate easily allows for an outdoor game.
Potential Matchup: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings II
I know we tire of seeing the same few teams compete in the Winter Classic, but these two teams have far too much history to ignore it. They seem to bring out the best in each other and always entertain the fans.
Chicago had a shot at home and blew it, so it wouldn't be too far-fetched to imagine they'd want a shot at redemption.
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
Capacity: up to 54,000
Home to the Toronto Blue Jays and the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, Rogers Center is in the heart of downtown Toronto. This is another befuddling location in that is hasn't been taken advantage of. It's one of the most traditional hockey markets and would be a no-brainer sellout within minutes. Torontonians love their Maple Leafs, so there would be no shortage of support for the Winter Classic.
Potential Matchup: Any Original Six team vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Personally, I'd choose the Montreal Canadiens to play, but any would suffice. No matter who the opponent, it would truly be a classic.