According to a report from Sportsnet analyst and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the NHL is coming to Regina, Saskatchewan. No, the jewel of the Canadian prairies will not be getting their own NHL franchise, but rather Friedman reports that the NHL is considering holding an outdoor game in the city at Mosaic Stadium, home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.
On CBC’s Saturday Headlines during Hockey Night in Canada, Friedman revealed the fact that the NHL is open to the idea of hosting more games in “neutral site” territories, specifically in Canada:
“There was supposed to be a Western Hockey League (WHL) outdoor game a couple weeks ago between Regina and Moose Jaw and that was cancelled,” said Friedman. “Now, I believe the NHL was going to go to that game. They’re looking for other places in Canada to host outdoor games.”
“I do think Regina is one of the places the NHL is considering for a future outdoor game in Canada.”
Wow… could you imagine? An NHL game on the frozen prairies of Saskatchewan? While Mosaic Stadium may not be as large as some of the NFL or NCAA stadiums that have hosted NHL games in the past, it can still pack in 40,000 crazy hockey fans.
At this point, the NHL has just two outdoor games scheduled for next season. The next edition of the Winter Classic will happen on Jan. 1, 2019 with the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium. Then there's the Stadium Series game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on February 23, 2019.
So far we can only speculate on which teams would play in such an event in Regina, but it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames would all be in consideration. Saskatchewan has a proud hockey tradition, but the province’s NHL allegiances vary from person to person. Many older generations cling to the Original Six era teams with the Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Saskatchewan native Gordie Howe’s Detroit Red Wings amongst the more favored teams. However, most younger fans tend to relate more to the NHL’s other Western Canadian teams the Flames, Oilers and Jets.
While Winnipeg may make the most sense from a geographical standpoint, don’t hold your breath on Regina hosting an outdoor game for the Jets before Winnipeg gets a shot.
Regardless of when or who plays, one thing is for sure Mosaic Stadium will be ROCKING! If you’ve ever attended a Roughriders game in person, you know that the Regina fanbase is amongst the loudest and proudest in all of professional sports. Bring the NHL to Regina!