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Bettman on six outdoor games: ‘We can’t do enough of them’

Aug 8, 2013, 10:49 PM EDT

bettmanatclassicgetty Getty Images

The most outdoor games the NHL’s ever done in a single season is two, but in 2013-14, they’ll roll out a whopping six.

To some, that sounds a little excessive, but league commissioner Gary Bettman indicated to the Canadian Press that it’s a simple matter of supply and demand.

“If you’re looking at it on a national basis, obviously we’re doing more,” Bettman said Thursday at Yankee Stadium. “But for teams and markets that want to host this (event), for fans that want to attend, we can’t do enough of them.”

While the 2014 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Vancouver’s Heritage Classic serve as national games, Bettman made a point of emphasizing the local aspects of these groups of games.

“If you’re a team that’s hosted one, now you’re not going to wait 10 or 12 years to get another one back,” Bettman said. “(And) for markets and teams that haven’t had a chance to host it, this brings it more of a reality sooner.”

It’s pretty bold to think the NHL could pull off six, but Bettman implied that might not even be the limit.

“We’re obviously testing ourselves and our hockey operations department to make sure we can put on these six games. We’re confident that we can,” Bettman said. “But we’ll take a deep breath when all six are over and evaluate what made sense, what we can do better and whether or not we can even do more.”

Here’s the list of 2014 outdoor games, in case you need a refresher:

Jan. 1: 2014 Winter Classic – Toronto vs. Detroit at Michigan Stadium
Jan. 25: Anaheim vs. Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium
Jan. 26: New Jersey vs. NY Rangers at Yankee Stadium
Jan. 29: NY Islanders vs. NY Rangers at Yankee Stadium
March 1: Pittsburgh vs. Chicago at Soldier Field
March 2: 2014 Heritage Classic – Ottawa vs. Vancouver at BC Place

  1. canucks30 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Pretty soon every game will be outdoors if the Bettman has his way

    • bensawesomeness - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      Thinking about it, would it really be such a bad thing? outside of Phoenix, ect, Outdoor games are awesome, it’s the ultimate home field advantage

      • dueman - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:07 AM

        Wow, really…

  2. tru2joelu4eva - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    bettman is a menace and we are all casualties of his unquenchable thirst for madness

  3. ibieiniid - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… I like the idea of more outdoor games. put aside the fact that he’s doing it to make money for the league (his job). the outdoor games are, and always have been better for the live audience in the seats. more of them means more fans that can have that experience. the real throwback isn’t about playing outdoors… its about giving fans AT THE GAME the experience of a lifetime. just like before games were televised.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      I can’t help wondering how many fans who have sat in the upper reaches for one of these outdoor events have been eager to attend a second one in similar seats.

      • ibieiniid - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        that’s fair. however, I’m also curious as to how many people that had tickets (even the upper deck) for, or had just went to a game, didn’t tell every person they knew that they did. there’s a LOT of people left out, even with 90k in attendance. they’d be more than happy to go to the next one, i’m betting.

      • mafiakelli - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        I was at the Winter Classic in Boston where the temp was 32 degrees, I was on The Roof Deck with the wind & I would go to ten more games just like that if I could! This is Hockey we are talking about here! It should be played outside IMO!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:12 AM

      If we’re going for a throwback to before the TV era, let’s just get rid of all the equipment. Gives people (especially the players) a real taste of that oldtime hockey.

      • mp1131211 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:52 PM

        Wait, is this a joke or a real suggestion? I can’t tell… ?

  4. jessejames182 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    I don’t get the first two comments, the outside games are amazing. The only one I’m worried about is La vs The ducks, but I’m a devils fan so if the kings want to skate around on a slushie be my guest. I mean come on the game just looks beautiful in the sunlight. And it’s gonna be 8 years before bettman and the players screw it all up again.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:14 AM

      Pretty sure Fehr is going to the MLBPA and Bettman is in line to replace Selig.

      • jimw81 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:38 AM

        i dont see fehr leaving. he has plans for this league.

    • mp1131211 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:42 PM

      To some people, there is nothing he could possibly do right. Its not about what happens, its about who does it.

  5. zdeb93 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    While 6 might be excessive has anyone thought, at least originally, that all these outdoor games were a way for Bettman to say “my bad” on the lockout, enjoy all these festivities we’ll put on for the greatest fans in the world? This article kind of goes against the thought but still, it’s a possible explanation.

    • dueman - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:22 AM

      Really? Hey man, I got this bridge for sale…

  6. blomfeld - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    “Invite the infidel to the river Jordan and there where the current is strongest, push him in so that he may drown like the rat which he is” … Luke 45:3

  7. hockeyflow33 - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    If you’ve been to an outdoor game you know the only good thin about it is the game’s uniqueness. It’s a terrible way to watch a game if you’re there

  8. scottychicago - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    March 1st in Chicago could be interesting depending on the weather. could be 20 out, could be 70.

  9. jacketsfan7 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Too many of them is gonna make them less special

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:20 AM

      Yeah you’re right, but I’m pretty sure NBC just has to tell us they’re all special….isn’t that how it works?

    • jessejames182 - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Thinking about it, it does make sense Bettman is just pimping them out to make up for the lost winter classic of the lock out and keep interest in outdoor games, but I’m not complaining. I was so upset when the cancelled the winter classic, you think we could form a boycott again that people actually follow through with and not just pour back into the rinks again?

    • zfeint - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:16 AM

      The more outdoor games there are, the better chance for NHL fans to actually attend an outdoor game – to experience one. But then again, a lot of hockey fans are elitist… so I can see why the backlash.

  10. dan46778 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    I went to the Fenway winter classic n it was. Unique and special but let’s not over did with six it going to take away the uniqueness n the specialness of the outdoor game

    • zfeint - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      So, because YOU got to go to one, more people cannot? For example, the game in Fenway – not everybody could have traveled there. Glad you enjoyed it, why not let more people get that opportunity?

  11. thedavesiknowiknow - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    I hope the Dodger stadium game has every “bug” imagineable. If not- it wouldn’t shock me in the least if every team has to host an outdoor game in the not so distant future.

    • lordfletcher - Aug 10, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      it’s stupid to think that the Kings are playing an outdoor game in Cali before the Wild in Minnesota.

      That alone makes all of this laughable

      • zfeint - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:19 AM

        With as many people from Minnesota living in Southern California, I don’t see your problem. It may as well be called a game in Minnesota West.

  12. pensfan1 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    Best seat in the house for outdoor games is at home in front of the TV. Prices are huge, sightlines are for other sports on bigger playing surfaces, and action is far away from everyone at some point of the game. It might be an experience one time for that rush of unique sports “ambience” but can you imagine a season ticket of the same?

    • mp1131211 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:44 PM

      6 is hardly a season.

  13. heynyc61 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    The dodger stadium game will have no more problems than anywhere else and the only issue is rain just like in Pittsburgh

    Los Angeles is no south Florida … Typical highs are 60s… It’s gonna be amazing… But lots of you Debbie downers just look for problems

  14. snipedanglecelly13 - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Detroit vs Toronto gonna be awesome game! Big house is gonna be packed with a attendance over 112k

  15. brainoflindros - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    PITTSBURGH AGIAN! VERSUS CHICAGO?!?! Was this Pierre’s suggestion? How can he call the game with all that sausage in his mouth. Why these two teams? I get NJ vs NY and NYI vs NYR…rivals…but Pitt and Chi….dumb.

  16. joeharkins - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    It’s so bizarre to see Anaheim at Los Angeles … at Dodger Stadium … Enough curiousity right there to make me want to tune in …

  17. multiplemiggs - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    I can wait for the Panthers/Lightning at Sunlife Stadoum next season

  18. modellforprez - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    He is right. you cannot have enough outdoor games. think about it hockey was born outside made to play outside and should stay there. now having said that it would be impossible for every team to have a outdoor rink but it would be beautiful. So big big shout to the beautiful country of Canada for showing us your awesome sport and bringing so much of my childhood with outdoor pucks n sticks…

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      Have you ever played an actual game outside? It sucks.

      It’s great for shinny with the boys but playing a legitimate game outside is terrible. Not to mention that a paying attendee at one of these games has 0 sight lines.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Mod, hockey was indeed born outside, where it got really cold in the winter so ponds and rivers froze solid. The hockey season was Dec.-March. The Stanley Cup was born in 1893 but the first time it was awarded in April was in 1920, when the final games had to be moved to a neutral site to use their artificial ice. Some of us would not mind returning to a 24 game season with teams only in cities where natural rinks are feasible. I’m not sure the NHL or the union would be too keen on that.

  19. hunst009 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    So can someone tell me how they are saying they can’t do enough of these games but the state of hockey with 2 viable stadiums to host the event can’t get one?????? What a joke!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Sorry but silly question. They can only stage these games in places that get naturally freezing winters, like Los Angeles. It’s too warm in Minnesota.

  20. hazlydose - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    No outdoor game will ever top the first Winter Classic. Crosby wins it in a shootout with falling snow. Can’t top it.

    • mp1131211 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      He could missed. So that’s at least one way…

  21. multiplemiggs - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Hockey was invented outside by the GERMANS and they even invented baseball. Doubleday just added fair/foul lines. I’m right, you’re wrong.

  22. jimw81 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    I’ll say it the again. the big money maker on these games will be the Penguins vs Flyers in Happy Valley that has to happen next season.It’s two teams that hate each other in the middle of state on a campus that is made up of students from philly and pittsburgh area.

  23. multiplemiggs - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    what is Minnesota? is that a state or something? people live there? So sick of Wild fans thinking they are the Mecca of hockey when theyre not even relevant in any way.

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