Plenty of outdoor hockey games take place on the east coast of Canada. Winters can be cold and long, and it’s not uncommon to find kids and adults taking to frozen ponds or snow-filled streets with their sticks for a game of pick-up or shinny. What would be uncommon is an outdoor NHL game on the east coast of the country where hockey was born. But, perhaps not for long.
According to TSN football insider Dave Naylor, Schooner Sports and Entertainment has informed the NHL that it intends to make a proposal to host a future NHL Heritage Classic in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The proposal will be dependent on a Canadian Football League stadium being built in the city, which will be put before a regional council vote in December. SSE is trying very hard to bring a CFL team to Halifax sometime on the early 2020s that would be called, unsurprisingly, the Atlantic Schooners.
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This seems like a great idea. An outdoor game in or near the home of NHLers like Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand is sure to get the support of a lot of hockey fans in Atlantic Canada and beyond. But don’t think it’s a done deal just yet. The proposal is contingent on the stadium being built and that’s far from a slam dunk at this point. Schooner Sports and Entertainment wants Halifax to cover up to 30 percent of the costs of building a new stadium for its potential football team, and that fact isn’t sitting well with everyone around the council table or people paying taxes there. Regardless of how the vote goes, the outcome is sure to be polarizing.
That said, perhaps the prospect of a huge NHL game like the Heritage Classic coming to Halifax could change many minds. The last one took place in Regina, Saskatchewan, the first one held on neutral NHL territory, and by all accounts it was a huge hit for everyone involved, not to mention a great economic boost for the area. Maybe something like this is exactly what SSE needs to get the vote to go its way. Perhaps that’s the whole point behind the plan. This isn’t a knock on football, but you’re much more likely to rabid hockey fans in the area than you are rabid football fans. Their support, combined with the prospect of a huge outdoor NHL game and its economic spinoffs, might just be the edge Schooner Sports needs to get the funds its looking for. We’ll find out in December.