Yankee Stadium Winter Classic rumblings grow louder


On Friday afternoon, the Bruins and Flyers squared off in a thrilling contest that ended in overtime. At Fenway, 38,112 fans stuffed the old park to the brim, and 10 times that amount were turned away. By all measures, the three-year-old Winter Classic is a resounding success, and as Yankee Stadium is primed for off-season events, it’s just a matter of time before the NHL picks the Bronx as the site for a Winter Classic.

For the last few months, we’ve heard on-again, off-again rumors about the NHL’s interest in bringing the Classic to Yankee Stadium in 2011, but the Yanks have made a December commitment to the NCAA. Over the next few years, the stadium is due to host a bowl game. Because of the lead time the NHL requires — approximately seven to ten days — for the venue hosting the Classic, the Yankee Stadium bowl may preclude the Winter Classic.

Andrew Gross, a staff writer for The Record, throws an interesting wrench into the Winter Classic planning for the stadium and opens the door for a 2011 date in the Bronx. He writes:

The NHL didn’t award the 2010 Winter Classic — won by the Bruins, 2-1, Friday afternoon on Marco Sturm’s goal at 1:57 of overtime — until July 15, and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman indicated discussions on what would be the fourth annual outdoor game on Jan. 1, 2011 would not begin immediately.

“We want a community where the game can have an impact, first and foremost, in addition to a good market that we think will support the game,” Bettman said. “We need the right facility. And, obviously, we have to be in a place where we think the weather will be OK.”

In September, Yankees officials announced the new Stadium would host an as-of-yet unnamed bowl game pitting teams from the Big East and Big 12 conferences. But despite saying the game would be played sometime between Dec. 25-Jan. 1, which would preclude the NHL from setting up a rink, the new bowl game does not yet have a television contract. That means it’s not yet locked into a date.

For the Yankees, keeping the stadium open for sports business during the off-season is a matter of money as much as it is anything else. The team built a multi-billion-dollar sports venue, and as Lonn Trost once said, they want to make use of it for more than 81 regular season games plus some playoff dates.

We probably won’t find out until the summer where the NHL plans to host its next Classic, but it could very well be Yankee Stadium. Even as temperatures hover in the high-20s this weekend, you can bet that the joint would be jumping for a Rangers game outdoors come 2011. Whether the Bowl game impacts these plans remains to be seen.

Categories : Yankee Stadium


  1. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    380,000 fans were turned away? Come on Ben, do you expect me to believe there are that many hockey fans in the U.S.?

    I’m sure John Henry would have figured out a way to extract money from anyone turned away. Like, join the Red Sox Nation for the low, low price of $49.99. Purchase includes a card that says you have joined (unlamenated (lamenation is another $4.99)), an extinguished butt from Rem Dog’s ashtray and a two for one coupon on your next purchase of a Fenway Dog (does not include condiments).

  2. Zack says:

    I’m not a huge hockey fan but it is pretty sweet to watch them outdoors in the elements and stuff

    And 38,000 fans always reminds me why i’m not impressed by their consecutive sell out streak

  3. Ben S says:

    Yankee Stadium would be a better venue for the Winter Classic than the other three previous venues. Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo packed in 74,000 fans, and while the atmosphere was electric, the views of the actual game were poor for just about everyone. The reason for this was that fans was far from the ice, as it was in the middle of a football field. At Wrigley, because most of the seating is at field level, few seats had views of all of the ice. Fenway had a similar problem as Wrigley, but probably to a lesser degree (the views from the green monster were pretty good, I would think). Yankee Stadium, the only modern stadium of these four, would provide lots of great sightlines, particularly from the terrace and grandstand levels. To me, it’s a no brainer, Rangers vs. Capitals 01/01/2011 at Yankee Stadium. NCAA Bowl Game can wait.

  4. Steven says:

    I think that Yankee Stadium will probly get a Winter Classic about 5 or so years from now when they don’t have a bowl game, but I personally think that the Yankees won’t be able to host the game and the game will end up being Rangers Caps at Citifield on January 1st of next year

  5. pat says:

    A winter classic would be nice but I’d much rather see Pacquiao/Mayweather in the new stadium.

  6. Drew says:

    I liked it the first year. Now I’m over it, it’s still just hockey(sloppy hockey at that).

    Bettman did well attracting fans to the game but let’s be honest, most of the people at the games aren’t hockey fans. They just want to see the novelty that is The Winter Classic.

    It would be cool to see YSIII in the winter in any fashion but a bowl game will be much more enticing to me.

    • Hughesus Cristo says:

      Most of the people at any event like that aren’t fans of the sport being played. The last thing the NHL needs are purists complaining about pinkhatters.

  7. I suggested this for a basketball game, but a hockey game would work too. Have the game at Center Court in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the Tennis Center.

    • Kevin in Freezing NYC says:

      That is GENIUS, Andy. That would be the most electric atmosphere for a hockey game ever. I’d go see the Blue Jackets play the Coyotes if it was head at Arthur Ashe.

    • As long as they could fit a rink on the court/floor, that would be BRILLIANT. The seating configuration Arthur Ashe would solve all the sightline problem [resented by a baseball or football stadium

  8. Michael Kay says:

    Why bring in a cool NHL event when you can host 1 of 500 very prestigious bowl games between mediocre schools?

    • Drew says:

      College Football >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NHL in the elements

      • Michael Kay says:

        but isn’t a real game, its just a big commercial that they convince dimwitted people is a huge deal. “It isn’t a meaningless game between North Dakota State & Idaho, ITS THE BISQUICK BOWL!” There are 5 good bowl games and thats it, if Yankee Stadium is hosting one of those thats fine. Its one year, and if they have to delay a crappy bowl one year its fine.

        • Alan says:

          I disagree. I went to the Eagle Bank Bowl at RFK Stadium between such football powerhouses as Temple and UCLA. It was actually a hell of a game and the atmosphere was awesome. It was the first time UCLA came to the East Coast in however long, both teams fans traveled well, and the teams played damn good football. Just because they’re not a big name bowl, doesn’t mean you can’t get a good product.

          • Michael Kay says:

            I’m willing to bet anything the atmosphere didn’t even compare to that of a preseason Giants-Jets game, and certainly not like the game at Fenway.

            The Wrigley Field one kind of sucked, but it still got great ratings. I’m just in favor of ONE YEAR of something the majority can enjoy instead of a game that very few people will care about, outside of the people that do enjoy them who will defend to the death that they matter.

        • Drew says:

          College football games are some of the best games to attend. The atmosphere is awesome.

          You say a bowl game isn’t a real game, I say “Are the Bruins and Flyers even good?” I really don’t know and I’d bet that most of the people in Fenway didn’t know either.

          What you call “meaningless,” I call good football. Just because it is commercialized to no end, doesn’t take away the quality of the product. The NHL isn’t even meant to be played outside and the actual product suffers in an uncontrolled environment.

  9. ok, 2nd time my post didn’t show up…not sure what the deal is.

    yankee stadium winter classic:

  10. sleepykarl says:

    Yankee stadium needs another Ali fight.

  11. Bryan says:

    Rangers wouldnt take part in a game at citi field without the islanders and the islanders would be the host. If anything i see rangers vs devils at the new giants/jets stadium. If they find a way to do it at yankee stadium it would probably be rangers vs caps

  12. [...] the last few months, we’ve heard on-again, off-again rumors about the NHL’s interest in bringing the Winter Classic to Yankee Stadium in 2011, but the Yanks have made a December commitment to the NCAA. Over the next few years, the stadium is [...]

  13. [...] because of scheduling conflicts with an upcoming NCAA Bowl Game. Ben chronicled the situation last weekend, and Gross says that ESPN will soon announce a deal to televise the game, which is being targeted [...]

  14. [...] — with the idea that I’d like to be there. I have a sneaking suspicion the NHL will put it here, so I’m making plans early. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and here’s to a happy [...]

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