The Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Buffalo Sabres in the 2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on March 13, the NHL announced Thursday.
The outdoor game will take place at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, mostly known for being the home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League.
This will be the sixth Heritage Classic dating back to 2003, with the last one taking place in 2019 between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. Toronto was the only Canadian team yet to take part in this event, while Buffalo will be first United States squad included.
Both teams still have experience with outdoor games, with Buffalo competing at the Winter Classic in 2008 and 2018 while Toronto won the 2014 version against the Detroit Red Wings. The Maple Leafs also appeared in the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic and a 2018 game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams discussed the upcoming battle:
"It's an honor to play in the Heritage Classic game. It will be an incredible atmosphere and we are thrilled to be able to play the Maple Leafs in this special event. Many of us fell in love with hockey while playing on the pond or in backyards, so this will give us a chance to get back to our roots while celebrating the game of hockey."
The stadium atmosphere and local rivalry will keep things exciting for this battle, which will help as Buffalo continues its long-term rebuild.
The Sabres finished last season with the fewest points in the NHL (37 in 56 games) and missed the playoffs for the 10th straight season. It was the fifth time in this stretch they finished last in their division.
Toronto has been much better in the regular season but continues to struggle in the playoffs, losing in the first round to the Montreal Canadiens last season. The squad hasn't advanced beyond the first round in any of the last five tries.