Toronto is getting its outdoor game next season after all.
The NHL has announced that the Toronto Maple Leafs will play host to the Detroit Red Wings in the first-ever NHL Centennial Classic on January 1, 2017. The game will be played at BMO Field in Toronto, home of Toronto FC, and will honor the 100th anniversary of the NHL.
BMO Stadium holds roughly 35,000 people. A big drop from the 100,000+ that watched the two teams face off in the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.
“This meeting of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs offers an ideal launch for a fantastic 2017 — the year in which the National Hockey League will celebrate its Centennial, Toronto will commemorate 100 years of NHL play and Canada will observe the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a press release from the league. “Since the Red Wings and Maple Leafs made NHL outdoor history by drawing more than 105,000 people to ‘The Big House’ in 2014, this unique rematch provides a perfect beginning to an historic year for our League, our Clubs and our fans.”
With the game taking place on New Year’s Day, it’s expected that the Winter Classic — slated to be hosted by St. Louis — will take place on January 2nd. There has been no announcement as far as broadcast or ticket details, but those will be coming in the coming months.
The Centennial Classic will be one of four outdoor games to take place next season. The Heritage Classic will feature the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers on October 23 in Winnipeg, the aforementioned Winter Classic that will pit the Blues against the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Philadelphia Flyers at Heinz Field on February 18.
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Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.