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Heritage Classic in Winnipeg in 2016 being discussed but not official yet

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (left) and True North Sports & Entertainment Limited chairman Mark Chipman answer questions during an announcement of an NHL team returning to the city of Winnipeg during a press conference in Winnipeg, Tuesday May 31, 2011. Winnipeg will most likely host a Heritage Classic soon, though Bettman sought to clarify that it has not been promised to the Jets for the 2015-16 season.THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (left) and True North Sports & Entertainment Limited chairman Mark Chipman answer questions during an announcement of an NHL team returning to the city of Winnipeg during a press conference in Winnipeg, Tuesday May 31, 2011. Winnipeg will most likely host a Heritage Classic soon, though Bettman sought to clarify that it has not been promised to the Jets for the 2015-16 season.THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. - Winnipeg will most likely host a Heritage Classic soon, though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sought to clarify that it has not been promised to the Jets for the 2015-16 season.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that the Jets will have a future game at Investors Group Field, and that chairman Mark Chipman wants to hold it in 2016.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff didn't provide any more details than what was in that report.

"I think it's a very exciting proposition," Cheveldayoff said Tuesday after the NHL's board of governors meeting. "Certainly lots of work probably needs to get done on it. I think it's all very preliminary."

Bettman struck the same chord, refusing to confirm the 2016 Heritage Classic in Winnipeg and saying the story "seems to have taken on a life of its own."

"We had a discussion with Mark Chipman where we said we'd like to have an outdoor game in Winnipeg, Heritage Classic, and Mark said that's great," Bettman said. "We said we're not ready to make any announcements, and what is your preference on dates? He gave us a preference of '16, but there's no formal agreement, announcement or anything else.

"It's still a work of progress, but at some point in the next few years, perhaps '16, perhaps not, we'll have an outdoor game in Winnipeg."

The Free Press reported that Chipman was interested in having the Heritage Classic as part of the Jets' fifth anniversary season.

The Vancouver Canucks are set to host the Ottawa Senators in the Heritage Classic March 2 at BC Place.

Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at @SWhyno.

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