Under the watchful eye of chief operating officer John Collins, the NHL has become the most event-driven league among major sports. From the Winter Classic to the All-Star Game fantasy draft to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Collins has positioned the NHL as an industry leader when it comes to staging glitzy, revenue-generating spectacles. It has helped build the league into an almost $4 billion business.
So why not make the trade deadline an event? It’s already one of the most highly anticipated days on the NHL calendar, so the league might as well cash in on it and make it even more compelling for fans at the same time. The league could sell a sponsorship deal and auction the television rights to the highest bidder. NHL Trade Deadline Day, brought to you by (insert sponsor’s name here) televised exclusively on (insert network’s name here). It could be much the same as baseball’s winter meetings but on a grander scale. Read more
In order for the Stadium Series game — and the Winter Classic, for that matter — to continue to be a spectacle each year it has to be bigger, brighter, with added flair, each subsequent game outdoing the last. If that’s the goal, the 2015 Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings accomplished it in a few ways.
For starters, the game was the third highest attended in the NHL’s now more than half-decade long history of outdoor games. At final tally, 70,205 spectators packed Levi’s Stadium, the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to watch the Kings win their seventh straight game as they defeated the Sharks 2-1.
Aside from the gaudy attendance number, the game was also the first outdoor contest that really, truly meant something. The intrigue wasn’t simply based on the display, but also on two teams fighting each other tooth and nail for a wild-card berth. And the game itself provided some of the most incredible photos from an outdoor game we’ve seen yet. Read more
If there’s something about the spectacle of outdoor NHL games that won’t wear off, it’s seeing how everything comes together to make the entire experience happen comes together.
Over the course of the preparation for the Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., there has been a camera perched on top of the stadium overlooking the exact spot where the rink was to be placed. Watch as workers speed around in time-lapse fashion to change the home of the San Francisco 49ers to the one-night home rink for the San Jose Sharks. Read more
As the NHL’s Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and L.A. Kings approaches, the league’s webcam documenting the building of the rink at Levi’s Stadium received a surprise visitor: a curious crow that made a brief, but memorable cameo.
The Stadium Series game – scheduled for this Saturday at the massive outdoor venue normally used by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers – is officially sold out with some 69,000 seat sold, and the NHL’s highly skilled ice crew is hard at work to ensure the event goes off without a hitch. The league had been using a stationary webcam to give fans the full view of the rink being set up, but the aforementioned crow decided to insert itself between the camera lens and the field for a handful of captivating seconds:
When the Montreal Canadiens lost defenseman Alexei Emelin to an injury in the first period of Wednesday night’s game against Ottawa, the pressure on the team’s defense corps ratcheted up significantly. There was no immediate word on the severity of Emelin’s upper-body ailment, but in the immediate wake of losing the veteran and the 20 minutes he averages per game, head coach Michel Therrien leaned on a blueliner he’s been leaning on more of late: star P.K. Subban was on his way to playing more than 30 minutes for the third time in five games when he was forced out of the game late in the second period after blocking a shot. Subban returned to start the third and still finished the night with 30:45 of playing time, but it very easily could’ve been a higher number than that.
The Canadiens are already rumored to be seeking a defenseman on the trade market, and the injury scares to two of their veterans should be considered a warning shot across the bow to accelerate the process. Because while the 25-year-old Subban is clearly capable of being on the ice for more than half of every game, Therrien and GM Marc Bergevin must be delicate with his minutes. Just as an NHL GM must balance the needs of the now with the needs of tomorrow on the salary cap front, so too must he keep an eye on the big picture when it comes to the use of his star players. And because Subban is one of the NHL’s most marketable, personable and talented players, Bergevin needs to be aware of the demands that are going to be placed on him not only this year, but beyond. Read more
The NHL has played in baseball stadiums and on football fields, but if the Montreal Canadiens get their wish and host an outdoor game, it could take place at a racetrack.
According to Guillaume Lefrancois of LaPresse, Canadiens owner Geoff Molson is working hard to secure an outdoor game. In order to do so, however, Molson will need to find a suitable venue for the spectacle. While some of the ideas make more sense – the CFL or MLS stadiums, for example – the most intriguing concepts involve hosting the event at the Montreal Hippodrome or Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Read more
One of several big announcements made by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Saturday afternoon was the slate of outdoor games for the 2015-16 season. Montreal will take on Boston at the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium, Detroit will travel to Coors Field to face the host Colorado Avalanche and Chicago will venture out to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium to take on the Wild.
As soon as the Blackhawks were announced as competitors, the Internet crowd got a bit jealous. After all, there are still nine NHL teams that have never played in an outdoor game and don’t have one scheduled right now: Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg. The Jets could have hosted a fourth outdoor game next year, but an agreement could not be reached with the CFL’s Blue Bombers over a stadium date (Bettman hoped that 2016-17 would work now).
The Hawks are already on outdoor game No. 4 now. So why Chicago again?
The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will each host outdoor games next season, according to a report Wednesday from TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The games will complement the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, which will take place in Boston’s Gillette Stadium and feature the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. Read more