TCF may host NHL game next year

by Nicolas Hallett

TCF Bank Stadium may host an outdoor National Hockey League game as soon as next year.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman toured both the University of Minnesota’s football facility and Target Field on Monday to scout locations for an outdoor Minnesota Wild game next season, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported.

Minneapolis can’t host the league’s 2015 Winter Classic since that’s already been granted to the Washington Capitals.

But the Wild could be slotted in as part of the NHL’s new Stadium Series, which held four outdoor hockey games in its inaugural campaign.

Wild owner Graig Leipold chauffeured Bettman around the Twin Cities and has been pushing for an outdoor game in Minnesota for years, the Pioneer Press reported.

“[An outdoor game] is something that we know the club wants, that Craig wants, that the fans want, and we'll be receptive,” Bettman told the Pioneer Press. “I can't give you a date yet, or a venue, but it's something we're focused on."

On Jan. 17, the University hosted an outdoor college hockey game at TCF Bank Stadium, known as the Hockey City Classic, drawing 45,021 fans – the state’s largest-ever attended hockey game.

Whether in 2015 or beyond, it seems likely the State of Hockey will be granted an outdoor contest. But which venue – Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium – is currently a toss-up for the NHL’s top decision-maker.

"I think in terms of Minnesota's infrastructure, they can be proud of both venues,” Bettman told the Pioneer Press. “Whether or not one is more suitable, or one makes more sense and the like, I need some more input."