EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid was too young to remember much about the 2003 Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium, but the Edmonton Oilers captain is looking forward to playing in another version of the League’s original regular-season outdoor game here 20 years later.

“I would have been young,” the 26-year-old said Wednesday. “I remember it a little bit, and looking back, the first thing that jumps out is how cold it was. I remember the goalies having toques on their helmets and things like that. Hopefully playing the game in October, it will be a little bit warmer. You never know with Edmonton weather, but it should be a little bit warmer.”

The Oilers will host the Calgary Flames in the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 29. New tickets to the game will be released Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

The temperature at face-off was minus-2 degrees Fahrenheit when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Oilers 4-3 in the original Heritage Classic on Nov. 22, 2003, in front of 57,167 fans. Since then, there have been 36 NHL regular-season outdoor games, drawing 1,851,642 fans.

“It’s just so different when you get to play in a stadium like this, and stadiums all across Canada and the United States,” McDavid said. “The NHL has brought outdoor games to some pretty wild places. I think of the Lake Tahoe [games in 2021], and then I think of some of those in California. Who would have pictured outdoor games in California?

“It’s an event that players look forward to, fans look forward to as well. It’s just different and it’s something that you don’t see every day. I don’t think any sport can replicate it like we can, so it’s fun to be a part of.”

Connor McDavid talks about the Oilers vs. Flames matchup

Upwards of 60,000 fans are expected to attend the 2023 Heritage Classic. It will be the second outdoor game for McDavid, who played in the 2016 Heritage Classic, which featured the Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets. Edmonton won 3-0 before a crowd of 33,240 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.

“I ended up taking a penalty with three or four minutes left and I remember sitting in the penalty box and looking around and thinking, ‘This is sweet.’ It was sick,” McDavid said. “I really enjoyed it. The fans get into it, and it feels like you’re a kid again playing outside. Playing hockey outdoors is as Canadian as it gets, and to do it here in Edmonton against the Flames is even better.”

Outdoor games have become a fixture on the NHL schedule, with two being played last season. The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in the 2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston in front of 39,243 fans on Jan. 2, and a crowd of 56,961 saw the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Washington Capitals 4-1 in the Stadium Series at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Feb. 18.

“We have our regular season, but we have to take this for our fans, to a whole other level,” said Steve Mayer, NHL senior executive vice president and chief content officer. “It’s the music, the pyro, the fireworks. Our goal is for that on every single stoppage, something goes on in the stadium. You want the fans to have an experience they’ll never forget. The players have the same experience, so you want the fans to have that same thing. You want to make it one of the greatest experiences they’re ever going to have at a sporting event.”

The 2023 Heritage Classic weekend will also feature fan events and musical entertainment, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Everything that surrounds the game for us is important,” Mayer said. “We realize, especially in the local market, this is the biggest thing going, and it’s what everyone is going to be talking about in Edmonton for weeks leading into the game and then after the game is over.”

Fans from throughout Alberta are expected to attend the game, which will be the first of four between the Oilers and Flames this season.

“I can’t wait to hear and see the reaction here because it’s been a long time since we’ve played a game here,” Mayer said. “And to have the Battle of Alberta as part of this, that’s going to make it even more special.”