Saturday, December 6, 2014

MetLife Stadium must wait years to host Winter Classic, says NHL commissioner: Report

Important people surrounding MetLife Stadium fought long and hard to get a Super Bowl in the Meadowlands — and finally saw their vision come to fruition last February.

But if they were hoping for an NHL version of a wintertime event, they'll have to wait ... years.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said it would be at least that long before MetLife Stadium would get a chance to host the annual Winter Classic.

Yankee Stadium hosted games between the Devils and New York Rangers, and between the Rangers and New York Islanders, last January, and since MetLife Stadium was prepping for the Super Bowl that week, a hockey game there would have been a logistics nightmare.

Bettman made it clear that the annual event will be held around the country before returning to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area in the near future.

"Every city, every club wants one," Bettman said at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, where the 2015 Winter Classic will be played Jan. 1 at Nationals Park. "We're going to move things around before going back."

Because there are three New York-area hockey teams, the NHL had to hold two outdoor games last January so no one would be left out, Bettman said.

"Playing in New York and New Jersey is a unique situation,'' he said. "We have a lot of other teams and a lot of other stadiums who want a game before we can come back."

No way Commish, Devils fans do feel left out.

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