ESPN is reporting the Calgary Flames will play host to...someone...in the back end of a January 1st, 2010 doubleheader, according to sources. The game will be played at McMahon Stadium, home of the Stampeders, which has been expanded to seat 45,000 for the 2009 Grey Cup.
The NHL hasn't said either way who will host the other game, but it's believed the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals will faceoff at the historic Fenway Park.
According to Slam! Sports, Flames president Ken King has "heard some rumblings" but wouldn't confirm the reports. The league says it will announce its plans for the next Winter Classic in mid-July.
So - who would Calgary play in a potential outdoor game?
Since the Oilers have had their moment in the sun (albeit the winter sun), the speculation is that it'll be a team like Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. The Canucks are an obvious choice because they're also in the Northwest Division, but the thinking for the other two is that it'll mean a "bigger media market" for the game.
Hold on a second; there are people that think hockey fans in Eastern Canada would take a game with zero rivalry over a game with a huge rivalry? A game between Calgary and Toronto or Montreal sounds boring to me, because there's hardly any history between the teams. They barely ever play each other!
Say the game was in Toronto, they wouldn't say "lets bring in Calgary so that more people out west will watch!" They'd look for Toronto's biggest rival, because Canadians love a good rivalry!
Over the last few years, the Oilers and Flames have made a habit of meeting in New Years Eve games...so why not keep that going?
I really like this idea though, because what's almost as Canadian as hockey or outdoor hockey? Doubleheader hockey!