TORONTO — The Maple Leafs’ 100-year anniversary season will have an outdoor game to celebrate it.
The NHL announced Wednesday that the Leafs would host Original Six rival Detroit in the Centennial Classic outdoor game Jan. 1 at BMO Field.
“This meeting of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs offers an ideal launch for a fantastic 2017 — the year in which the National Hockey League will celebrate its Centennial, Toronto will commemorate 100 years of NHL play and Canada will observe the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Since the Red Wings and Maple Leafs made NHL outdoor history by drawing more than 105,000 people to ‘The Big House’ in 2014, this unique rematch provides a perfect beginning to an historic year for our League, our Clubs and our fans.”
The NHL also announced that the St. Louis Blues will host their first Winter Classic when they take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 2 at Busch Stadium. This marks the first regular-season outdoor game for the Blues, who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks will be making their fifth outdoor game appearance and their third in the Winter Classic.
Another outdoor game featuring Philadelphia at Pittsburgh is slated for Feb. 18 at Heinz Field, the first outdoor meeting between the intrastate rivals.
Earlier this week the NHL announced the Heritage Classic game would featureEdmonton at Winnipeg next Oct. 23.
It’s going to be a busy sports year in Toronto next season, with the NHL-NHLPA World Cup of Hockey in September followed by the CFL’s Grey Cup game in November and part of the IIHF world junior hockey championship at Air Canada Centre in late December and early January.
Courtesy of ESPN by Pierre LeBrun ESPN Senior Writer