From bubbles to football stadiums. At least it's progress.
The NHL is returning to its regularly scheduled outdoor slate for the 2021-22 season, now adding a Heritage classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres to its showcase schedule.
On March 13, Toronto and Buffalo will meet halfway (and within the Canadian border) in Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field — or the home of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. One of the CFL's newest facilities, Tim Hortons Field has a capacity of over 23,000 fans, which could skew heavily to the Maple Leafs despite the Sabres officially being the home side.
The Maple Leafs last participated in an outdoor game at the 2017 Centennial Classic at BMO Field versus the Detroit Red Wings. Buffalo hosted the first-ever Winter Classic versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium and has appeared in one outdoor spectacle since, returning to the Winter Classic a decade later versus the New York Rangers at Citi Field.
It will mark the sixth Heritage Classic and first involving the Maple Leafs. It was also an event exclusively reserved for Canadian-based teams to this point.
The game will appear on Sportsnet in Canada and TNT in the United States.
Maple Leafs' outdoor record:
Jan. 1, 2014: Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 2
Jan. 1, 2017: Maple Leafs 5, Red Wings 4
March 3, 2018: Capitals 5, Maple Leafs 2
Sabres' outdoor record:
Jan. 1, 2008: Penguins 2, Sabres 1 (SO)
Jan. 1, 2018: Rangers 3, Sabres 2 (OT)
There are two other outdoor games scheduled for the season. The Minnesota Wild will host the St. Louis Blues at Target Field at the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators will continue the Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium in Tennessee on Feb. 26.
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