With the recent announcements of outdoor games in 2017, and the recent outdoor games for 2016, is it time for the Columbus Blue Jackets to throw their hats into the ring?
First, let's go over the games for 2016. The Winter Classic was on New Year's Day between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. Not to down the city of Boston and the people of Massachusetts, but this is the second time Boston had the Winter Classic in their city. They had one in 2010 where they battled the Philadelphia Flyers. This time, it was in Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots. Last time, it was in Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Socks.
The first Stadium Series games was on February 21st between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks. Not to down the people of Minnesota or Illinois, this is the first outdoor appearance for the Wild, where the Hawks competed in four. They hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in 2009, home of the Chicago Cubs. In 2013, they hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. In 2014, they traveled to Washington to play the Capitals at the home of the Nationals. Now, they play Minnesota in the home of the Gophers.
The other Stadium Series game is on February 28th between the Detroit Red
Wings and the Colorado Avalanche. Not to down the people of Michigan of Colorado, but the Red Wings have played in three outdoor games, whereas this is the first for Colorado Avalanche. The Wings completed in Chicago in 2009, as I stated above; they hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Big House, home of the M****** Wolverines, in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic. Now, the Wings are traveling to Colorado to play outdoors at Coors Field, home of the Rockies.
For 2017, here is what we know so far:
Winnipeg v. Edmonton in October outdoors. Winnipeg is the recipient of the outdoor game. This would be the first time the Jets get one, where the Oilers may have competed in a Heritage Classic game in the past.
St. Louis v. Chicago. The Winter Classic is on January 2, 2017 this year. But Chicago again, really?
Toronto v. Detroit. This outdoor game will be on New Year's Day 2017 in Toronto. But Detroit again. What about Montreal or Ottawa?
Rumored- Philadelphia v. Pittsburgh. There is discussion of this one and it's not surprising that it is being talked about, but where it happens is a question mark. I have heard one of three destinations in the state- in Pittsburgh; in Philadelphia; or in Beaver Stadium, the home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. With me living back in PA, after being in Ohio for two years and becoming a big time Blue Jackets fan, this would be an absolute dream to see the Flyers annihilate the Penguins outdoors.
In terms of the Blue Jackets, they do have a couple options. They have the Shoe, the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes; or they have the home of the Columbus Clippers. I have talked with some people in the front office in Columbus, and they said they have talked to the league about an outdoor game at the baseball field. However, the football stadium is more intriguing to me as you can fit more people in and can create a rivalry. The league could look into a Ohio-Michigan game by having the Blue Jackets play the Red Wings, and maybe explore a collegiate game between the two as it may be hard to have an alumni team in Columbus at this point.
What are your thoughts on outdoor games? Who should get one? What are your thoughts on an Ohio outdoor game? Where should it go? Do you prefer Ohio Stadium or Huntington Park? Buckeyes or Clippers?
More to come…