View Full Version : Rangers, NHL eye Winter Classic at new Yankee Stadium

07-09-2008, 03:19 PM
The New York Yankees were on board. The city was on board. And the NHL wanted to do it. But myriad logistical problems made it too costly and too difficult for the NHL to stage the next Winter Classic as the closing act at Yankee Stadium. Still, if the NHL won't be making history by closing the old ballpark, it could well wind up staging the first non-baseball sporting event in the new one.

The New York Daily News has learned that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Yankees COO Lonn Trost and mayor Mike Bloomberg concluded their discussions on the topic recently with each pledging their interest in playing a Winter Classic in the new Yankee Stadium perhaps on New Year's Day 2010.

Wrigley Field will do the honors six months from now, serving as the site for a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 1, 2009. An official announcement from the NHL should come a few days before the league releases its entire 2008-09 schedule on Monday.

While it is certain that the Rangers would play in any Yankee Stadium game, choosing their opponent was one of the many thorny issues that complicated matters. The Islanders began investigating the possibility and meeting with Yankees officials a few years ago and understandably wanted to be included. The Devils, who wield considerable power at the Board of Governors level, wanted in as well.

But NBC, which scored big ratings with the 2008 Winter Classic between Buffalo and Pittsburgh at Ralph Wilson Stadium, views a game between two teams in the same metropolitan area as a ratings minimizer. The network wants a Rangers-Boston Bruins matchup that both has the cachet of an Original Six matchup like Blackhawks-Red Wings - and brings the eyeballs of two major television markets to the sets.

Source: New York Daily News