Last week hockey fans watched the Montreal Canadiens skate circles around the Boston Bruins in the annual Winter Classic. Boston lost 5-1 in the ‘House that Brady built.’ Maybe that’s why Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara was so embarrassed by his team’s play.
We’ve got to be better. We know that. But let’s pick it up (word beginning with ‘F’ only reserved for SinBin.vegas podcasts) mentally too. – Zdeno Chara
You see the Winter Classic is a big deal. Each team is honored to be invited to play outdoors. Most teams circle the date, and get their own TV show hyping it up. However, it didn’t seem as if the B’s took it as seriously as the Habs. And it was apparent in the four-part series on EPIX. P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher, and Mike Condon all showed excitement, and determination for Montreal. While Boston seemed to be taking the game as if it was another ordinary, regular season game. Well it isn’t.
I’ve brought this up before, but the topic came up on Twitter again, so I figured we should properly tackle it.
@SinBinVegas if Vegas gets an NHL team, do you think they would ever get to host a winter classic?
— Scott H. Carey (@Scott4Nevada) January 8, 2016
First of all Las Vegas currently doesn’t have the proper outdoor venue. When you consider this year’s outdoor games will be played at Gillette Stadium (68,000 capacity), Coors Field (50,000 capacity), and the TCF Bank Stadium (50,000 capacity) all dwarf Sam Boyd Stadium (40,000 capacity). Sam Boyd also doesn’t have the space, parking or amenities that the other stadiums posses. It would need some major renovations to hold a major professional event like an outdoor NHL game. The City of Las Vegas will have to build a state-of- the- art stadium that can hold 60,000+ people. Unfortunately there are no legitimate plans in the works, unless you are unlike us and believe this 100,000 seat stadium could become a reality.
Secondly, the NHL loves to promote their teams, especially new expansion teams. So an outdoor game between Las Vegas and the Arizona Coyotes makes sense. However, the Phoenix area has fine venues, in fact maybe some of the best. Southern Arizona has held Super Bowls, National Titles, Pro Bowls and WrestleMania’s for crying out loud. So it would make more sense to host an outdoor game in Arizona. Good news however, this would put the Las Vegas franchise in an outdoor game much faster. Really, it’s a win-win for the NHL. They get to promote a new expansion team and continue to assist the Coyotes direction.
Lastly, it seems the Pacific conference will continue to get squeezed on Winter Classics. Now there have been Stadium Series games, but the Winter Classics get more hype. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a west coast New Year’s Day game. So if Las Vegas was to be awarded an outdoor game, it would be after the All-Star break. But really, who cares? An outdoor game is always an event.
To answer the question, it doesn’t look like there will be an outdoor hockey game anytime soon in Las Vegas. Based off its current venue situation. However, the Las Vegas franchise could certainly be invited to play in one in Arizona, which to me is good enough on its own. Let’s hope the more chatter about Las Vegas in an outdoor game will catch the eye of the NHL. Heck, this was pretty cool way back when, why not try it again?