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Report: Toronto ‘in line’ to land 2017 Winter Classic

Jan 1, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT


The Toronto Maple Leafs liked partaking in this year’s Winter Classic so much, they’re hoping to land one of their own.

The Leafs are reportedly “in line” to be the first-ever Canadian host for the Classic, according to sources of Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, and aiming to land the league’s signature event during the franchise’ 100th anniversary season in 2016-17 — at BMO Field, home of MLS outfit Toronto FC.

Here’s more, from Sportsnet:

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has held high-level discussions with the municipal, provincial and federal government and believes that they are all on board with renovating the six-year-old [BMO Field] stadium, according to president and CEO Tim Leiweke. The driving force behind the proposed expansion is a desire to hold major events like the Winter Classic and NHL sources indicate that Toronto is in line to land the signature outdoor game should the building’s capacity be increased.

The biggest issue to be worked out for the project is determining how it is financed. BMO Field was built in 2007 for a little more than $60-million and Leiweke acknowledged that the cost of expanding it would likely end up being at least twice that much.

BMO Field’s current capacity is around 22,000 for sporting events (like soccer) and 28,000 for concerts. It’s owned by the City of Toronto and would require a major facelift in order to host an event of the Classic’s status, especially with regards to seating — BMO would likely need to at least double in capacity.

From a participation standpoint, appearing in two Winter Classics isn’t anything new. Pittsburgh, who visited Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo to take on the Sabres in the inaugural 2008 Classic, hosted one of their own at Heinz Field in 2011. Philly played against the Bruins at Fenway in 2010 and got the ’12 Classic, while Detroit played Chicago at Wrigley in 2009 and is now hosting the latest edition of the Winter Classic at the University of Michigan’s Big House.

As mentioned above, though, Toronto would be the first-ever Canadian host. The team already broke new ground by becoming the first-ever Canadian participant in the Winter Classic this year.


  1. canucks30 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    By 2017 the Winter Classic will have lost most if not all of its mystique.

    If it hasn’t all ready.

    • 19wasthebest - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      Especially if they are going to have multiple games every year, which I personally do not like.

  2. thomasvanek - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    By then every game will be taken place outside so who cares

  3. hojo20 - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    I’m Winter Classiced out.

  4. tampabayirish - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Commissioner Butt Goblin killed the Winter Classic by scheduling 6 outdoor games this year in a blatant money grab. The NHL ought to play one game in the States on New Year’s Day and one game in Canada on their hockey heritage day. That’s enough. Let Toronto have the Canadian Hockey Heritage date in 2017 but allow an American city to host the New Year’s Day game.

  5. steelers88 - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    I totally agree. I absolutely hate how the NHL has scheduled 6 outdoor games this year. I feel like the Winter Classic is less special now, even if my team wasn’t playing in the game I would watch it because it was special, now not so much. I think the NHL should have only 2 outdoor games a year the Winter Classic and the Heritage Classic. The NHL has a gold mine in the Winter Classic and they are ruining it with the stadium series.

  6. zinger99 - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Bettman has done everything in his power to water this league down. This used to be a great league,however it peaked in the 80’s. Too many teams and in places that shouldn’t have teams,players in this league that should be in the AHL,the shootout,loser points,hockey in June. It’s a shame because its a great game but it’s not what it was. I used to eat,sleep breathe hockey for 30 years. Bettman cured me of that.

  7. terrier92 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Lighten up . NHL plays over 1200 games in regular season . These games are great for cities held in . Listen if it gets people exposed to hockey so they go to a Florida Phoenix game on a Tuesday night in November I’m all for it

  8. terrier92 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Lighten up . NHL plays over 1200 games in regular season . These games are great for cities held in . Listen if it gets people exposed to hockey so they go to a Florida Phoenix game on a Tuesday night in November I’m all for it

  9. ironmd778 - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Are you guys watching the start of this game?? Get your heads out of you arses. There’s no way you can be “winter classiced out”.

    • gbrim - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      In other words, no one can disagree with you because you are excited about the start of today’s game? I think 1 in the US and 1 in Canada, at heritage sites, is the perfect amount.

  10. heynyc61 - Jan 1, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    This Bettman guy is ruining the sport! How dare he make millions, have record attendance and have all teams begging for an outdoor game! Today is already a failure. Too many fans in the stadium! Snow! And it’s just too damm cold!

    But wait. Minute. People look to be having fun and is it possible that all the negative people need to get a life? Yes. I think so

  11. pastabelly - Jan 1, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    This seemed like a home game for Toronto today.

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