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Minnesota, Colorado, St. Louis mentioned as future Winter Classic candidates

Dec 29, 2011, 4:55 PM EDT

Winter Classic Getty Images

The NHL wants to bring outdoor hockey games to as many markets as possible.

Even Tampa Bay?

Well, never say never, but the league’s chief operating officer, John Collins, has a few other places in mind first.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Collins mentioned Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado as markets that “should be involved.”

Presumably he meant they “should be involved” as hosts, not just visitors.

“I think there are a lot of markets that would be fantastic,” Collins said. “I’d like to ultimately see these games not viewed as a regional matchup or a Canada game or a U.S. game, but really kind of a celebration of hockey. If you’re a hockey fan — whether you’re a Canadian hockey fan or an American hockey fan or a Flyers fan or Flames fan — these games are special and unique and you should be tuning in even if your favorite team isn’t playing in the game.

“It’s kind of that line that we use all the time: ‘Nobody ever canceled their Super Bowl party because they didn’t like the two teams that were playing in the game.’”

Collins makes a good point. Though for the record, if it’s Atlanta and Cincinnati in this year’s Super Bowl, party’s canceled.

  1. govtminion - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Oh man, doing it at Mile High Stadium would be AMAZING (Yes, you heard me- I don’t care what the sign says, it’s Mile High. Period).

    I would like to see the league start doing more with the warm-weather teams for this. Obviously, they can’t host this thing in Phoenix or Tampa, but having those teams travel to a cold weather city like Boston, Denver, or Detroit means they can be involved. So far the warmest-weather team to see a Classic even as a visitor is Washington- and it’s pretty cold still here in the winter, trust me. So let’s get the Lightning, the Stars, the Coyotes, the Ducks, etc. involved in this as well.

    • paulsdamnblog - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:33 PM

      Agree with you there. I also thought it would be cool if the NHL played the Allstar game outside too, but that may be asking too much.

    • polegojim - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:10 PM

      Love to have it in Colorado, but this Sunday it will be almost 50, after an entire week of 50 degree+, even 60 degree weather.

      Not so good for the outside ice. You’d have a slush fest.

      REPEAT: Warm weather teams will not draw crowds for these games.

      • brucewaynewins - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        I disagree. I think weather will have zero impact.

        I live in Cincinnati and after Christmas is over more people skate on the ice downtown on a warmer day than a cold cloudy windy day. I get what your saying but this is about outdoor hockey and people in the US aren’t gonna say “what I don’t get to freeze my fingers off? you mean I have to be comfortable outside watching this? forget that!” it’s just not gonna happen. they may complain but they really wont be genuinely unhappy.

        I think Colorado would have zero issue selling out. Its the ratings they’d have to be more concerned with.

        I think any US team with star power and market value could draw well against a Canadian team if and only if its a well known Canadian team with Canadian stars and they play it up like “US vs Canada” especially in an Olympic year. That would be an ideal year and way to use a Canadian market. Otherwise stick with US vs US in any other scenerio.

  2. pastabelly - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    New York should get a game before those cities.

  3. vshehane - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    I would love to see Nashville involved. Time to quit pretending the warm weather teams don’t exist. Nashville WILL get the all star game. Mark my word.

    • polegojim - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:16 PM

      Actually they don’t exist – to verify, check the playoff results for… as long as you’d like.

      Other than an occassional fluke, they’re one and done outside of Anaheim and San Jose.

  4. quizguy66 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    They should do Devils-Avs in Colorado – a celebration of Colorado’s NHL history – and an excuse to get Don Cherry into the mix.

    -QG

  5. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    Target Field is pushing for the Wild to host it within 2 years. With Koivu, Heatley, and the soon to be additions of Parise (yes, Wild want him, he wants to come back to Minny), Granlund, and Croyle all coming here next year, Wild will have the star power to attract this game.

    NHL needs to let the Wild wear the old North Star jerseys from the early 90s with the N logo. Play Dallas wearing their jerseys from their first year in Dallas. Old Minnesota jersey with Dallas written over the top of the “Stars.”

    Would be perfect to kick off the first year of the new realignment.

    • polegojim - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:07 PM

      Keep dreaming… ; )

      Actually, this would be better than St. Louis for sure.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:53 PM

        Every kid plays hockey in Minnesota outdoors. Perfect game site. More Americans in the NHL are from Minnesota than any other state.

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