I guess at this point, teams might as well get creative, right?
That’s the word from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who reported today that the Bruins are among 4 NHL teams “exploring [the] possibility” of playing their home games outdoors next season.
Friedman, who acknowledges that the plan is a “long shot,” says the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Bruins have all looked into whether or not they could play their 2020-2021 (really just 2021) home games under the winter sky.
We can get all of the “no fun” stuff out of the way first: this probably won’t happen, there’d be a whole series of city and state hurdles to jump through, etc.
But hey, at least the teams are thinking outside (ha!) the box.
From Friedman’s article, on the Bruins’ plans:
The Bruins have been in contact with state and city officials about different options. I had heard specific mention of Fenway Park, and was told that is in an “exploratory phase,” but it was stressed all venue options are being considered.
For their part, the team kind of confirmed the accuracy of Friedman’s report:
The Bruins, of course, played at Fenway Park in the 2010 Winter Classic, and the ballpark has hosted various college and high school hockey games in the years since; it even hosted Red Bull’s Crashed Ice a few years back.
Other options in the Boston area could include Gillette Stadium, which likely won’t see playoff football this season and has hotels in direct proximity to the stadium, and Harvard Stadium.
While it’s fun to think that the teams are just romantic about the idea of returning hockey to its outdoor roots, let’s be honest: this is about money.
The Bruins likely know they’re not getting any fans indoors this season, so they’re looking at outdoor games as a means of getting people in the stands.
To me, this isn’t something you should count on, and it’s more of a “hey, what about...” kind of idea from the teams.
If (and it seems like a bigger “if” by the day at this point), the 2021 season happens, I’d bet on it happening indoors.
Still, stranger things have happened. Remember bubble hockey?