It’s been no secret the Leafs are looking to host the outdoor Winter Classic game next season as part of their centennial celebration, but now it appears the details could be in process of being hammered out about the place, and most importantly, the opponent.
— Howard Berger (@Berger_BYTES) December 14, 2015
Now, let’s consider the source here and perhaps proceed with caution. Berger hasn’t broken a meaningful piece of Leafs news since…well, I can’t remember. But he seems to be committed to this, so we’ll stay tuned and look for confirmation as soon as possible.
The Rangers as the opponent seems a little strange, since Toronto and New York have never really been seen as much of rivals in the NHL. But as many folks have already mentioned, these are two original six teams who have each only played in a single Winter Classic so far (if you include next month’s game between the Habs and Bruins), and the Leafs will have to face an American opponent in order to keep ratings sharp south of the border.
Over the summer, the prospect of BMO Field – the usual home of MLS team Toronto FC – as the site of next year’s game started getting some play after the Bruins and Canadiens formally announced their upcoming date at Foxborough, to which Bettman at the time said “We haven’t focused on the outdoor games for the season after this. But
if BMO is ready for an outdoor game, and the Leafs want us to take a
look at it, we’ll take a look” (via The Sun).