Vancouver will become the third Canadian city to host a regular-season NHL game outdoors when the Canucks welcome the Ottawa Senators to BC Place next season in the 2014 Heritage Classic. Edmonton hosted Montreal in the original Heritage Classic in 2003 in the NHL's first ever outdoor regular-season game.
Photograph by: Darryl Dyck, THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER — NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly admitted Tuesday the league is taking an aggressive approach when it comes to its so-called 'stadium series' of games, which includes a March 2 date between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators at B.C. Place Stadiium.
The B.C. Place event will be the sixth, and final, contest in the series. Two of the games will be played at Yankee Stadium during Super Bowl Week in New York.
“It's obviously an aggressive agenda, there is no doubt about it,” said Daly, who was in Vancouver to appear at Tuesday night's Canucks' fan summit at Rogers Arena. “I think next year is fairly unique to the extent it's our first full season after the lockout, it's an Olympic year and, with the Super Bowl in New York City and the Yankee Stadium dynamic, it presents an opportunity for us to have an aggressive agenda.
“We'll see how it goes and hopefully, it comes off very well and people are happy. I don't expect in the short term that we're building on this, or anything.”
Daly said he is aware that it rains in Vancouver, especially in early March, and that might turn the Canuck-Senator contest, dubbed the Heritage Classic, into an indoor game.
“I wouldn't characterize that as a concern but it is a consideration,” Daly responded. “We obviously took that into account when we put the game here. If worst comes to worst, and it needs to be covered, it will be a covered facility but we hope that's not the case.”
The Heritage Classic is a league event so ticket prices will be set by the New York head office. Daly indicated there will be a wide price range in the 55,000-seat football stadium.
“I haven't talked to events about that,” he said. “Look, it's a special event and it will be priced liked a special event. It's a big facility and I imagine there will be a lot of tickets priced less than you would normally find in Rogers Arena and, by the same token, I think there will be tickets that are priced more. That's what I would expect.”
Daly also addressed the Seattle question as a possible location for future expansion, or relocation.
“I think it's safe to say we're imporessed with the Pacific Northwest in general,” Daly said. “I think the Vancouver Canucks have done a fantastic job of developing a hockey following here and, to the extent expansion comes into the picture, or relocation is needed, I'm sure the Pacific Northwest is going to get serious consideration.”
With respect to the NHL's participation in the Sochi Olympics, Daly explained he felt all along that an agreement would be reached.
“It's something we had mixed feelings about,” he said. “There were complications in this negotiation but I would say the feeling was the signals were such that it was just a process and that the process was going to produce an agreement.”
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