Wild to host outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium

TCF Bank Stadium hosted the Hockey City Classic in 2014. On Feb. 21, 2016, the University of Minnesota venue will host an NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota is finally getting its outdoor NHL game.

The NHL announced Saturday at the league’s all-star game in Columbus that the Minnesota Wild will host the Chicago Blackhawks in a Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota next season.

Minnesota had long sought an outdoor game with the influx of such games each NHL season with the Winter Classic held on New Year’s Day and two Stadium Series games. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had said plans were being made for Minnesota to be included but the game didn’t become a reality until Saturday.

The Wild will play at TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 21, 2016. The Colorado Avalanche will host the Detroit Red Wings the following weekend at Coors Field in Denver for the second Stadium Series game. Boston will host the Winter Classic next season, the second time it’s been awarded the New Year’s Day game.

The Wild hope to host the Winter Classic, the first of the outdoor games started by the NHL in 2008.

Wild owner Craig Leipold wrote a letter on the Wild’s website following the announcement.

"Congratulations, you deserve this chance to showcase and celebrate our favorite game in the great outdoors on a national stage," Leipold wrote. "The recent Hockey Day Minnesota events all around the state showed once again how the outdoor game is in our blood.

"We’re confident that we’ll be awarded a Winter Classic someday soon. But we’ll enjoy this one too — the first-ever outdoor professional game in the state. And when the Minnesota Wild hit the ice for our Stadium Series game next season, we’ll all be warmed by a great deal of pride watching our boys out there, no matter the weather."

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The Stadium Series was started last season by the NHL and featured four outdoor games. This season, the San Jose Sharks will host the Los Angeles Kings at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 21 for a Stadium Series game.

TCF Bank Stadium hosted the Hockey City Classic in 2014, which featured the Universty of Minnesota playing two outdoor games on Jan. 17, 2014. Minnesota’s women’s hockey team faced Minnesota State, while the Gophers’ men’s team played Ohio State.

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