Thursday, June 29, 2006

Now Playing Centre Field for the New York Rangers!

It worked in Edmonton, so surely it will be a hit on Broadway!

The New York Times has a story in their Thursday edition that there are discussions underway to hold an outdoor hockey game at Yankee Stadium in either December or January of this coming season, matching up those two favourite puck playing sons of Gotham the Rangers and the Islanders.

If the plan goes ahead it will mark only third time that a hockey game has been played at a large outdoor venue, besides the wildly successful Oiler event of a few years ago when over 54,000 hockey fanatics braved a cold Alberta day to watch the Habs and Oilers at Commonwealth Staidum.

College hockey were the pioneers of the big stadia showcase, having once put state rivals Michigan and Michigan State to the ice, er field at Spartan stadium. An event that brought 74,554 fans to the stands and thousands of dollars to the pockets of the two schools. Imagine the possibilities at Yankee Stadium at NHL ticket prices, it could give both the Rangers and Islanders quite a few more dollars in their hot chocolate fund.

The full Times story is reprinted below.

June 29, 2006
N.H.L. Proposal Could Put a Game in Yankee Stadium

The National Hockey League may be ready to take its sport outdoors, with Yankee Stadium among several stadiums being considered to play host to a hockey game during the 2006-7 season.

Rick Cerrone, the Yankees' senior director of media relations, confirmed that the team had been approached by N.H.L. officials about the possibility of a game being held at the stadium. It is believed that the game, which was reported yesterday by Newsday, would match the Rangers and the Islanders in December or January. The 2006-7 N.H.L schedule will be released next month.

According to Frank Brown, the N.H.L. vice president for media relations, similar discussions were under way with officials from a number of outdoor stadiums.

A game at Yankee Stadium could prove beneficial to all parties.

An experiment with outdoor hockey in 2003 in Canada was a rousing success, drawing the largest crowd in N.H.L. history. Despite freezing temperatures, 57,167 fans turned out to watch the Edmonton Oilers face the Montreal Canadiens, the only outdoor game ever played in the N.H.L. It took place at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, the home of the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos.

The N.H.L. borrowed from college hockey when hatching the idea to match the Canadiens and Oilers outdoors. An Oct. 6, 2001, game between Michigan State and Michigan held at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing had an attendance of 74,554, the largest crowd ever to see a hockey game.

With an N.H.L. game, the Yankees would also bring in revenue during a time of year when their stadium is empty. Since the Giants last played in Yankee Stadium in 1973, the stadium has been almost exclusively used for baseball. In 1976, Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali met in a fight at Yankee Stadium and in 1938 the old Yankee Stadium played host to a fight between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling of Germany. In more recent years, the stadium was the site for a 1990 Billy Joel concert and a 1992 U2 concert.

The rival Boston Red Sox have profited by holding concerts during the baseball season at Fenway Park, including appearances by Jimmy Buffett, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. Red Sox management has also shown interest in opening the stadium for college hockey games.

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