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League considering multiple outdoor games in future

by Dan Rosen /

DETROIT -- The National Hockey League is considering having multiple outdoor games in future seasons, John Collins, the League's Chief Operating Officer, said Sunday.

"It's not necessarily a new conversation," Collins said from Joe Louis Arena following the official announcement for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, to be played on New Year's Day at Michigan Stadium.


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"We've been looking at this and talking about it for a while now, but now we're looking at it real hard," he continued. "We're having conversations with the Board [of Governors] and with the clubs about what it could look like and when is the right time to do it."

Collins said the Winter Classic and any future Heritage Classic games in Canada will stand on their own as marquee events on the NHL calendar, but additional outdoor games could be built into the regular-season schedule based on venue availability and interest in the market.

He confirmed that the 1 p.m. ET time window on Jan. 1 will still be reserved for the Winter Classic.

"The local aspect is something we have been spending a lot of time talking with the clubs about," Collins said. "We've always said how do we get to more markets and share this experience. We know there are a lot of markets that the concept of an outdoor regular season game would be magical and really fantastic, but they may not be markets that would carry the weight of a nationally televised Jan. 1 game so we may not get there.

"There is a demand and an opportunity. When this game comes into these markets it forces everyone in the market to talk about hockey and talk about the big event, cover it as news, not just the rights holders."


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