Canucks, Senators ‘outdoor game’ finally announced, could be an actual hot mess

Here’s how I imagine this went down: after a handful of successful Winter Classics, Gary Bettman got sick and tired of every market lobbying him for next year’s outdoor game. Twirling his figurative moustache, he hatched a plan to turn them all off the idea, announcing six in one year, knowing the overload would have the same effect as making a teenager smoke an entire carton of cigarettes.

Soon, everyone would be begging him to let them come inside, pawing at the door like a housecat in the rain. Maniacal laugh.

On Wednesday, the League finally completed Phase 1 of this plan, formally announcing that the sixth and final of their half dozen outdoor games in 2013-14 would be a contest between the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at BC Place Stadium.

But it’s not just outdoor game number six. It’s the return of the Heritage Classic, “one of the cornerstones of the NHL’s event strategy,” according to the League’s press release.

Sure, the Heritage Classic has laid dormant without any substantial comment for three years, but I guess that’s just what you do with a cornerstone. Or maybe the league is casually giving this event “cornerstone” status now in order to combat diminishing returns on their sixth bloody outdoor game in three months?

If so, Tim Hortons is a wonderfully appropriate sponsor, since their coffee and the novelty of this game are both equally, significantly watered down.

Same goes for the ice on which this game is likely to be played. The most overwhelming evidence for East Coast Bias I’ve seen to date is the League thinking it’s a good idea to schedule an outdoor game in Vancouver in March. Have they ever been here at that time of year? It tends to be balmy and rainy. There’s a good chance the game could be a literal hot mess. It could look less like this and more like this.

If it does rain, can they close the roof? That would make sense — that’s sort of why we built the thing — but if they do that, it’s no longer an outdoor game, and it’s only sort of going to be one now.

As you can see, I have my reservations.

It’s totally possible this event goes well, mind you. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be a lot of fun, since the NHL is a pretty good party planner. They did a great job choosing the opponent, for instance. From the release:

In 1915, the Vancouver Millionaires™, the first professional hockey team on the West Coast, were crowned champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Meanwhile, in the rival league from the East, the National Hockey Association, which two years later became the National Hockey League, the Ottawa Senators were skating to a league title. Earlier, the two leagues agreed to play a series between the champions of each league with the Stanley Cup® awarded to the victor. The Millionaires swept a best-of-five series to claim the Stanley Cup® Championship.

That in mind, one assumes we’ll see the return of the Millionaires jerseys, last seen when the Canucks donned them versus the Detroit Red Wings last March. You’ll recall that they committed themselves fully to playing like a team from the 1910s that night by struggling with the concept of the forward pass.

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14 comments

  1. Nee
    July 10, 2013

    “Tim Hortons is a wonderfully appropriate sponsor, since their coffee and the novelty of this game are both equally, significantly watered down”

    WHOA WHOA WHOA…that stuff gets me through the day.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      July 10, 2013

      I hear that.

      I switched to black coffee back in January, and man alive, the moment you do that you realize how bad Tim Hortons coffee actually is. (I still drink it, though. Canada forever.)

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      • Neil B
        July 10, 2013

        Harrison, you are aware that A) your province has many fine coffee vendors who roast their own beans (Serious Coffee, Milano Coffee, 49th Parallel, etc.) and are actually owned by Canadians, and B) that Tim Hortons is about 18% is Canadian-owned, the remaining 82% being owned by the shareholders of Wendy’s International.

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        • Tip
          July 11, 2013

          I think Wendy and Tim divorced a few years ago. It’s a separate company now. But it is pretty crappy coffee.

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        • Harrison Mooney
          July 11, 2013

          Yessir, Mr. Know-it-all, and I certainly prefer local flavour. Just saying I still occasionally drink Tim Hortons.

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  2. Kelvin Yu
    July 10, 2013

    … I would pay to watch an underwater hockey game by actual NHLers.

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  3. iain
    July 10, 2013

    as ludicrous as this is, it still makes more sense than trying to play an outdoor game in southern california, if only slightly more.

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    • Adam Nowek
      July 11, 2013

      You do realise that Las Vegas hosted an outdoor game in extreme heat in 1991, right?

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  4. steveB
    July 10, 2013

    fine, I guess the next city to host it will be Glendale, Arizona with the Tampa Bay Lightning as the visitors.

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    • Krease
      July 10, 2013

      That sounds like just what we’d need for a playoff series between those two teams. Of course, it would be in the finals in June, but that just makes it more exciting!

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  5. PB
    July 10, 2013

    What the hell are “209″s, the team that’s playing the backup US underwater champions in this semifinal? Also are those rubber knives they’re using as sticks? That is possibly the worst “sport” I’ve ever seen and I love that it’s organized to have a playoff round.

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  6. J21
    July 11, 2013

    “If so, Tim Hortons is a wonderfully appropriate sponsor, since their coffee and the novelty of this game are both equally, significantly watered down.”

    And both are inappropriate in southwestern British Columbia.

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  7. Chinook
    July 11, 2013

    Daniel, you must take steps to avoid coming down with a severe case of BCitis, an affliction that brings down many fine people in this province. I have been here for many many years but I still know Optimism and have a firm belief in Good Outcomes in the Universe. Remember, Positive Thinking makes you Large, Negativity brings contempt, not to mention a Pox on your House. So listen carefully: the Outdoor Game, whether it rains, snows or shines will be Great! No matter how many outdoor games there may be next year, the Vancouver-Ottawa game will be the Best. You have Great Influence to make it so. Don’t trifle with Destiny.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      July 11, 2013

      Wait, how am I getting dragged into this? If any house gets a pox put on it, it should be Harrison’s for his Debbie Downerism.

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