Citi Field, New Meadowlands Stadium in Play for 2012 NHL Winter Classic
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman -- at a media breakfast Tuesday -- wasn't going to make any kind of an announcement. That won't happen, in all likelihood, until after the Heritage Classic, which is in February at Calgary's McMahon Stadium. There are reports, however, that Yankee Stadium has been ruled out for 2012. The stadium hosts a college football bowl game for the first time this year, and it sounds like the Pinstripe Bowl will be played in late December of 2011 as well. Since the NHL needs a week to set up the rink, they can't play at Yankee Stadium.
Citi Field and New Meadowlands Stadium, however, are apparently still in play for the 2012 game. While it's not a shoo-in that the game will be played in New York, it makes sense. This will be the fifth Winter Classic, and the league has tried to find ways to make the event bigger every year. That makes a trip to New York logical.
As far as other sites that could be in play for future Winter Classics, Minnesota now has two suitable outdoor stadiums (TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field) along with a slew of Division I college teams that would love to try out the surface before or after the NHL uses it. Michigan has hosted two major college outdoor games (in East Lansing and Ann Arbor), and the Red Wings are one of the NHL's most visible franchises.
Bettman has noted before that the league is leaning toward bigger venues for the Winter Classic, meaning Citi Field might be out and Meadowlands Stadium in. Either way, it's clear the New York/New Jersey area is the favorite for the 2012 game.