Canucks to host one of six outdoor games next season in NHL’s stadium series

Dan Hamhuis smiles uneasily at the thought of an outdoor game in Vancouver in March.

When the Vancouver Canucks debuted their Vancouver Millionaires jerseys back in March, we wondered aloud if the original plan had been to debut the historic duds versus the Ottawa Senators, the team the Millionaires defeated back in 1915 for Vancouver’s lone Stanley Cup.

No, we were told when asked (proving the worst thing you can ever do is ask), that had never been the plan.

That said, if the Canucks did want to sport their heritage jerseys versus the Senators, it would appear that next March will yield a golden opportunity. According to multiple reports, the league is planning to go from one outdoor game to six in 2013-14, with the sixth and final game in what’s being called a stadium series happening just next door to Rogers Arena in BC Place. Vancouver will obviously be one of the two teams. The other club: the Ottawa Senators, who have been sore about the way we stole Cyclone Taylor and then their Stanley Cup for 99 long years.

GRUDGE MATCH.

Here’s the full schedule of outdoor games, courtesy of TSN, where Darren Dreger was the first to report the NHL’s plan to make more money and ruin the Winter Classic expand:

  • Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium, Jan. 1
  • Ducks vs. Kings at Dodger Stadium, Jan. 25
  • Devils vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium, Jan. 26
  • Islanders vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium, Jan 29
  • Penguins at Blackhawks, Soldier Field, March 1
  • Senators at Canucks, BC Place, March 2

We’ll forgive the fact that calling a game at BC Place with the roof open an “outdoor game” is akin to opening the door to the back patio off the kitchen and claiming you’re doing some “outdoor cooking”.

Yes, we get outdoor game number six, because if The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock has taught us anything, it’s that the sixth instalment in a franchise is always the one people remember.

I’m torn on this. For one thing, if you thought the weather in February wasn’t exactly conducive to the Winter Olympics, the weather in March isn’t exactly conducive to an outdoor game, either.

Additionally, as I said this morning at Puck Daddy, I absolutely hate the idea of six outdoor games next year, because it feels like a cynical cash grab cranked up to eleven (or in this case, six):

The Winter Classic has always been a cash grab, a chance to snuggle with the sponsors, to sell 10 times as many tickets as usual, and to trot out some special event merchandise that will dance off the shelves like ‘N Sync dolls come to life. This much we know. But it was still possible to enjoy all the good things about the event despite this because, in the back of our minds, we also knew that it was possible for the league to make the event even more blatantly about separating fans from their money.

Say, for instance, if they did it six times a year.

[...] It’s as though, instead of hiding five golden tickets in his chocolate bars, Willy Wonka hid 5000. It’s not quite the same movie then (especially since 4,999 kids disappearing in Wonka’s factory makes the movie very, very different). It’s not nearly as big a deal when Charlie Bucket finds one, for one thing, plus it feels a lot less like a momentous occasion and a lot more like a cheap ploy to sell box after box of candy bars.

So you can see why Vancouver being the final stop on the NHL’s Winter Classic-ruining “Racks On Racks” tour doesn’t sit well with me.

But on the other hand, there’s no doubt that this is going to be a fun event, especially since this game, with its festival atmosphere and tripled capacity, should be a welcome change of pace from the quiet experience of watching a game in Rogers Library Arena. As much as I hate the idea of this series, I’m sure the experience of it will be something to remember.

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16 comments

  1. Chinook
    April 17, 2013

    Vancouver and Ottawa should wear their vintage uni’s EVERY time they play, like forever. They’re the best!
    You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

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    • tj
      April 17, 2013

      Posting on PiTB is now a multi-level experience: you type in your comment, ‘control-C’, wait for the inevitable rejection of the comment,’control-P’, wait for another rejection, and then, if the server gods are kind, it’ll post on the third attempt.

      Seriously, dudes, when is this problem going to be fixed? It’s not your fault, but do the powers that be at the Sun realize just how badly this reflects on them? (Control-C’…)

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      • Harrison Mooney
        April 17, 2013

        Yeah, it’s bad. I’ve raised a stink a few times. Hopefully we get it fixed soon.

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        • Brent
          April 17, 2013

          I especially like the “forbidden” message when you try to refresh to try and repost your failed post. Makes it seem like I am on a dirty website.

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          • steveB
            April 17, 2013

            You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

            I feel like I’ve been put in AV’s Doghouse. :-(

            /move over, Ballard

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  2. tj
    April 17, 2013

    Wait… The Rangers play outdoor twice?? That doesn’t seem right…

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    • Shand
      April 17, 2013

      $$$$$

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      April 17, 2013

      Yeah, the League has never shown any interest in large Original Six markets. I’d have thought Carolina would be getting the lions’ share! :P

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  3. Stan Smyl's raised eyebrow
    April 17, 2013

    Had a great time in Calgary a few years ago. Looking forward to a great fan experience with the home crew after the killjoy that was game 7. Of note, the NHL has always made a separate distinction between the Heritage Classics in Canada and the Winter Classics in the States. I don’t really see the downside that some are claiming. Cash cow for the league and great fun for the fans. The haters will hate and stay home, the rest of us cattle will line up and pay!

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  4. Sonia
    April 17, 2013

    I’m just curious as to how an outdoor ice hockey game will work in Los Angeles will work. I mean in January the

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    • PeeSeeGee
      April 17, 2013

      Totally! Although apparently they play one in Vegas in the summer.

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  5. Carlo
    April 17, 2013

    I personally don’t mind the “outdoor” game at BC Place, but… the Sens? That makes no sense at all. Would’ve worked better against the Oilers or a US team like Minny or LA. Meh.. Oh well.

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  6. J21
    April 17, 2013

    So the chances that it’s raining will be very good, let’s face it. Will they close the roof? And if so, is there even really a point?

    If Ottawa had a stadium (there is literally no usable outdoor facility here), I suspect the game would have been played here, particularly if in March (when it’s less likely to be minus-4,235 degrees). And as a Canucks’ fan “abroad”, that would have made me very happy.

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  7. Nee
    April 17, 2013

    I’m excited to have one of these, but:

    -slush ice in March….weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    -March 2 – isn’t that immediately after the Olympics?! Our players are going to be either very rusty or sluggish
    -Ottawa? Really?
    -I knew it wouldn’t happen, but it would have been rad to play against Chicago
    -I hate the idea of using the Millionaire jerseys – sorry to be anal, but the Canucks never wore those, a different team in Vancouver did

    On the plus side, BC Place will be a great venue for hockey. Very bright and airy in there, good sight lines, and the acoustics are way better now than they used to be.

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    • akidd
      April 18, 2013

      i completely agree, nee. i just don’t recognize the team on the ice in those uniforms. colour schemes are an important part of the package it seems.

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  8. Wizdigo
    April 18, 2013

    This is just insane, it really is, nothing more I can say.

    First off, to have a game in BC Place isn’t really outdoors at all, I agree with that. PLUS, it’s freaking MARCH!!! It’s gonna be around 12-15 degrees celcius in Vancouver. There can’t be another game in January? What, is there no space for Vancouver to have their outdoor game in January? Out of all the teams the Canucks could have faced, it’s Ottawa? One, I’m glad it is Canadian, I’ll grant it some brownie points for that, but why not a team that we actually have heat with, like the obvious choice of the Blackhawks? Now, I do live in Vancouver, and surprised as you may all be to hear this, I am pretty damn excited for a game in BC Place, that’s going to be nutts for the fans, and is just a spectacle to witness. However, I have far too many complaints and question marks in this paragraph I have wrote, there should be more optimistic remarks in here, but sadly it’s because of Bettman’s money hoarding sucubus tactics that rip out my optimism and beat it with a shovel.

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