By Noah Miller
McMahon Stadium– the home of the University of Calgary Dinos football team and the Calgary Stampeders– will host Canada’s second ever outdoor National Hockey League game.
At a press conference held last Wednesday, the NHL announced that on Sunday Feb. 20, the Calgary Flames will battle the Montreal Canadiens in the 2011 Heritage classic.
With the Sidney Crosby versus Alexander Ovechkin rivalry set to go outdoors when the Pittsburgh Penguins play the Washington Capitals on New Year’s Day, there grew a desire to bring the game back to its origins in Canada.
“Our first regular-season outdoor game was played in Canada and it’s great to be coming back,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the press conference. “As everyone knows, the roots of our game are in Canada . . . [on] frozen ponds and backyard rinks in Canada. When you have a heritage as proud and as strong as we do, you want to celebrate it.”
With roughly 40,000 expected to be in attendance, attention was focused on the poten- tially cold weather.
“Hopefully they have the heathers in the benches,” said Flames forward Curtis Glencross.
To further the heritage theme, Reebok designed special jerseys for the Flames to don that pays tribute to the Calgary Tigers–the first major professional team in Calgary in 1921.
In addition to the Flames’ landmark game, the Calgary Hitmen are also slated to play the Western Hockey League’s first outdoor game when they take on the Regina Pats the next day.
Tickets for the inevitably popular event have yet to go on sale.