Yankee Stadium will host a doubleheader of a different sort this winter.
The 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will see the three New York City metropolitan NHL teams play a pair of games at the home of the New York Yankees. The New York Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils at 12:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 26, 2014, and the Rangers will face the New York Islanders at 7:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 29, 2014.
NHL STADIUM SERIES COVERAGE
It will mark the first time hockey has been played at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009 across the street from the original. The new stadium seats 50,287 for baseball.
"The innovative nature of the Stadium Series affords the opportunity to have all three NHL teams in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area play, outdoors, at one of the most-recognized stadiums in the world," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We'll be able to create a multi-faceted, multi-day experience for our fans, and we thank the teams, Coors Light, the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium for their support of this memorable NHL event."
"The teams playing in these two games -- the Rangers, Islanders and Devils -- have tremendously loyal fans and the rivalries are intense because of their proximity and playoff history," said Mathieu Schneider, NHLPA special assistant to the Executive Director. "Yankee Stadium is a landmark venue in New York City, and to see hockey played in such a celebrated setting will be extremely memorable to the players and everyone involved."
While a number of NHL teams have used the ice rink in Central Park for practice, the games will mark the first time professional hockey has been played outdoors in New York City.
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"We have long thought that Yankee Stadium would be a great venue for outdoor hockey," said Lonn Trost, New York Yankees Chief Operating Officer. "In addition to being a first-class baseball facility, Yankee Stadium was designed to house unique and memorable events, such as the NHL Stadium Series. Hosting two of the NHL's classic rivalries at Yankee Stadium will be a great kickoff for the worldwide sporting events in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area scheduled in early 2014."
"The New York Islanders are honored to take part in the National Hockey League's outdoor Stadium Series," added Islanders general manager Garth Snow. "Our fan base is one of the most passionate in the NHL. The support we consistently receive from our fans was on display during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and I expect it to be on an even greater scale when we take on the Rangers. This is what makes the games against the Rangers one of the best rivalries in the League. I look forward to seeing a strong contingent of the orange and blue in the stands at Yankee Stadium."
Division rivals for years, the teams also have engaged in memorable playoff matchups.
The Rangers and Devils have met six times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, most memorably in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. The Devils led 3-2 when Rangers captain Mark Messier made his famous guarantee and scored a hat trick to help the Rangers win Game 6. Then in Game 7, Stephane Matteau's goal in double overtime won the series en route to the team winning its first Stanley Cup since 1940.
One year later, the Devils won the franchise's first Stanley Cup. In 2012, they beat the Rangers in a Game 6 overtime to advance to the Cup Final.
The Rangers and Islanders have met eight times in the postseason, including four straight years from 1981-84. The Devils and Islanders have faced off once in the postseason, the 1988 Patrick Division Semifinals, which the Devils won in six games.
The Rangers and Islanders first played Oct. 21, 1972 at Nassau Coliseum, with the Rangers winning 2-1. The first game between the Rangers and Devils was Oct. 8, 1982 at Brendan Byrne Arena, a 3-2 win by the Devils.
The games in New York are the latest additions to the Stadium Series, which also includes a game between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Jan. 25, and a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field in Chicago on March 1.