Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yankee Bowl To Freeze Winter Classic Out Of Stadium?

Good morning Fackers. We've been pretty critical here about the Yankees' desire to host football games, including a college bowl game for the next three years, at Yankee Stadium.

Last year, there was talk of the old Yankee Stadium hosting the NHL's Winter Classic as a sort of final sendoff. For a number of reasons it didn't pan out, but one would imagine Yankee Stadium is still in the running for the future. Except the Stadium's football commitments might make that a problem. Puck Daddy takes a look:

This is a problem if you're planning on the NHL hosting a hockey game on New Year's Day in the next few seasons. Even if the bowl game was played on Christmas Day, that would give the NHL six days to prepare not only the rink, but also the stadium to their standards and the Winter Classic isn't an event, especially in New York, that the League will look to rush in and out of quickly. As we're seeing in Boston, the NHL wants to use their portable rink in as many entertaining and profitable ways possible. Not to mention the bowl game organizers would have to breakdown the field in a given amount of time to allow Dan Craig and his crew to get to work. Two high-profile events being held on the same field in such a short period of time would also be a big concern for the Yankees, who do not want to have their maintenance people fixing divots in the field in the months before Opening Day.

The NHL told us that they have a seven-day build out plan for their Winter Classic venues, so Yankee Stadium on New Year's Day between 2011-2013 seems like a fantasy.

It goes on to speculate that Yankee Stadium could lose out to the new Giants Stadium or (gasp) Citi Field.

Despite being just a two year old tradition, the Winter Classic is one of the best sporting events each year. The NHL shows no indications of abandoning their new found New Year's tradition. In fact, yesterday there was talk of expanding the Winter Classic to include a Canadian game. Perhaps such an expansion might allow for a Canadian game on New Year's and a game at Yankee Stadium some days later.

This year's Classic is at Fenway Park, where the ice is already down. In typical Fenway fashion, the ownership group will try to maximize their bottom line on this one, adding open skates, prep school games, and a pair of college games to the schedule over the next several weeks. I'll be there to see Boston College face Boston University on January 8th. I hope that I have the opportunity to see an outdoor hockey game at Yankee Stadium one day too.


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