December 13, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
NEW YORK -- Winnipeg has been targeted by the NHL for an outdoor game and could host a Heritage Classic as early as 2016.
True North chairman Mark Chipman confirmed to the Free Press on Saturday they have been in negotiations with the NHL and they are hopeful an announcement can be made as early as the end of March.
An NHL source says the league is hoping to make a number of outdoor game announcements in the near future and the aim is play a Heritage Classic in Canada in 2014 and 2016.
Vancouver’s B.C. Place is the likely destination for 2014 and talks are underway to secure a game for Winnipeg in 2016.
An outdoor game in Winnipeg would be played in early March at the new football stadium, Investors Group Field.
The NHL had originally wanted to bring an outdoor game to Winnipeg next year to be played shortly after the Winter Olympics but delays at the new stadium have pushed that date back.
The NHL wants the stadium to host a number of events and to have any kinks worked out before it brings the focus of a global audience on Winnipeg.
The stadium will have a football capacity north of 33,000 and temporary seating for 7,000 or so will be erected in the south endzone.
The NHL prefers seating for more than 40,000 for its outdoor games.
Next winter will see the Winter Classic played at the University of Michigan between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The league has sold more than 100,000 tickets for the game. Canada has played host to two Heritage Classics, the first in Edmonton in 2003 and second in Calgary in 2011.
The Blue Bombers, main tenant at the stadium, had no comment on Saturday.
Updated on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM CST:
updates with Chipman, adds no comment from Bombers