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Bettman: We’d be crazy not to do a Winter Classic in Minnesota

Oct 27, 2011, 1:41 PM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

Wild fans have been yelling about getting a Winter Classic to the “State of Hockey” for years. After all, in America there’s no more of a place befitting of playing outdoor hockey than Minnesota and its 10,000 lakes (give or take a few myths).

Luckily for fans in Minnesota, Gary Bettman agrees with you.

Bettman told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune that he’d be crazy (his words!) to not get a Winter Classic done in Minnesota in the future. On the upside for Wild fans, they’ve got superstars to show off now in Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and Mikko Koivu. The downside for the Wild is that they haven’t made the playoffs in years and they’re not exactly a marquee draw in the league, two factors that seem to matter most for the Winter Classic.

Of course, if there’s one thing that could help swing attention Minnesota’s way it’s the weather. Sounds crazy, right? After all, Minnesota is arctic cold in winter but after seeing rain play a big role in things in Pittsburgh, if Philadelphia runs into similar issues this season, the NHL could look into a locale where the winter weather won’t come into question in January. Minneapolis-St.Paul would pretty much guarantee that.

For now, the Wild better focus on winning and becoming fun to watch or develop a lot of intrigue if they want to get a Winter Classic sooner than later.

  1. sknut - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    About time. It makes sense that you want a winning team but you can’t argue with the fan passion here and now with either Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium you have great venues to pull it off. I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

    • kopy - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:52 PM

      Bettman is just saying what Minnesotans want to hear. I would LOVE a Winter Classic in Minnesota. However, they only seem to happen to “marketable” division rivals. Has there been a Canadian team that played an American team outdoors? I don’t think so, not recently anyway, and the NHL seems very reluctant to do this – Keeping the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic separate.

      Minnesota fans are stuck waiting for realignment, Colorado to also become a “marketable” team (as well as Minnesota itself), or the league to allow a Canadian team to play outdoors in Minnesota (Winnipeg?). I’m not holding my breath.

  2. sportsinhd - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    I can’t believe there hasn’t been one in Michigan yet. You could have the game at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, or at Comerica in downtown Detroit. There’s also all the technical know how about putting on outdoor hockey at Michigan State and U of M. Having the game in Michigan in front of 70 to 100,000 rabid Red Wings fans should be a no brainer, even better if they host a team that hasn’t been in the Winter Classic yet, a team like Sharks, Avs, or Kings.

    • kopy - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      A winter classic in Michigan would be awesome, I agree with you. Unfortuntely, though, for Red Wings fans, I think playing the Winter Classic in Chicago not too long ago kicked them a little lower on the priority list for outdoor games.

  3. greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Besides Heatley, Koivu, and Seroguchi, the Wild have Jason Zucker from Denver University and Mikael Grandlund coming down the pipe. 2014 would be perfect for Minnesota.

    By then realignment should be done and the Wild will be a central division team. I could see playing Chicago and both teams wearing throwbacks. Wild would wear the old North Star jerseys. Or Dallas/Minnesota. Dark horse would be Winnipeg, closest team to Minnesota and could be in same division as soon as next year.

    • brucewaynewins - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      I see Winnipeg as a zero chance.

      • sknut - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:45 PM

        Well if realignment comes, Chicago could be a possible team to play the Wild.

  4. hockeyfan9170 - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    No Canadian team will play anytime soon. Minnesota would be a great climate but where would they play? Nothing stands out that catches the imagination. I like the Detroit – Columbus matchup idea but they don’t seem like a great 24/7 series. If Minnesota gets to host a classic the opponent needs to be a team with star power.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM

      Brand new TCF Bank Stadium or Target Field

  5. rgledz - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Chicago is closer than Winnipeg, just thought I’d throw that out there great sports mind

  6. sharksfan754 - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    I can’t believe teams are already getting to do it twice before it gets a chance to go elsewhere. Pittsburgh and philadelphia got two before Minnesota gets one? Spread the wealth!

  7. sharksfan754 - Oct 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Just to clarify I’m talking about participating not hosting^^

  8. nhlbruins90 - Oct 30, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    It’s all about TV ratings, pure and simple. There’s nothing fair about it. This is the NHL’s made-for-tv marquee event. Deliver the ratings or don’t apply.

    Having said that, it’s time for LA to get into the mix. LA vs. Detroit in one of those mega-stadiums in Michigan. Bang the place out with 100k fans and two great teams. I could go for that.

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