The NHL’s latest outdoor extravaganza was conducted on Sunday in Navy’s football stadium, and it appears other service academies could be in line for future consideration to host an outdoor NHL game.
“It’s unique and as we continue to move forward with the outdoor games, you look for new concepts and new themes and new things that’ll interest the fans,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Saturday. “Certainly the hope is, with a successful game (at Navy), we’ll continue the venture with the Army and the Air Force and we’ll see where we go from there.”
The feedback from the experience at Navy has seemingly been positive, aside from a power outage during the game. And because of the latest positive experience for the NHL, a future date for an outdoor game on the campus of a service academy seems like an easy decision to make, be it at Army or Air Force. Both would provide some unique atmospheres for an outdoor game and would be a good way to bring the game to those training to be a part of the United States’ military.
For now, the next outdoor NHL game scheduled to appear inside a college football stadium will be held next season in South Bend, Indiana when Notre Dame Stadium sets the stage for a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins. Notre Dame Stadium will be the second college football stadium to host an NHL Winter Classic, joining Michigan Stadium (2014; Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs). Notre Dame Stadium will be the fourth college football stadium to host an outdoor game, with Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium hosting a Stadium Series game in 2016 and Navy’s Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium doing the honors this past weekend.
Heinz Field, home to the Pitt Panthers and the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, hosted an NHL Stadium Series game in 2017. Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Temple Owls and the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, will host a Stadium Series game next February. Both games have involved the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Flyers. Penn State’s Beaver Stadium has long been discussed as a potential outdoor venue for the Penguins and Flyers, although that idea may be on ice until after Penn State renovates Beaver Stadium to be able to accommodate such an event that time of year.