The NHL has 4 outdoor games in the 2016-17 season, there was the heritage classic, centennial classic, Winter Classic and in February there will a Stadium Series game in Pittsburgh. I remember when the NHL first announced it was taking the game outdoors with the first Winter Classic in 2008. It was exciting as it was something new but also something traditional as hockey can trace its roots back to frozen ponds.
Here we are 9 years later, and if we look ONLY at the yearly Winter Classic 10 teams out of 30 have been featured with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston and Washington with 2 appearances each and Chicago with 3.
If we factor in Heritage Classic and the new Stadium Series then 23 out of 30 teams have been featured in 22 outdoor games since 2003 with Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington all with multiple appearances and teams like Columbus, Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, Dallas, Nashville and Arizona never playing outdoors.
It seems the league has added more games outdoors but yet are still not featuring all of their teams and please spare me the whole “well they cant play outdoors in Florida” because the Kings played both the Sharks and the Ducks in outdoor games in California. It just seems to me that the out door game is losing its spectacle because its always the same teams.
I am going to watch the Chicago Blackhawks play in their third Winter Classic today and why? there is no logical reason for them to be playing in another outdoor game. They have not played outdoor games in 2015, 2016 and 2017 its just ridiculous. Emerging markets can benefit from these type of events but I guess actually growing the game of hockey does not matter to the NHL.