Outdoor hockey comes to Ottawa in the 2017 NHL100 Classic with the outdoor game at Lansdowne Park on Saturday with the Ottawa Senators hosting the Montréal Canadiens.
Landsdowne Park is the generic name for the site but is also in use because of conflicting bank sponsorships. This is the place where the Ottawa RedBlacks play and the site of the 2017 Grey Cup.
The idea of the classic is to celebrate the 100th anniversary (on the closest Saturday) to the first NHL game on December 19, 1917. On that day, the Montréal Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 7-4 and the Montréal Wanderers edged the Toronto Arenas 10-9. The Quebec Bulldogs had the night off.
The crowd at the football stadium will be enhanced by the crowd watching the game on two big screens on Parliament Hill. I remember watching the history of Canada shown on the side of the Parliament in Ottawa. That is a beautiful area to take in the event, provided you can keep warm.
The rink will also be the site of an Ottawa 67s home game against its cross river rival Gatineau Olympiques on Sunday at 3 pm. The NHL Network carries a number of minor league games, but that one isn't on the schedule.
The 67s normally play in the arena underneath the north grandstand at the football stadium.
The other major event will be the Senators alumni game with Team Alfie (Daniel Alfredsson) versus Team Phillips (Chris Phillips). That game will be on the temporary rink at Parliament Hill on Friday night. As Paul Romanuk and Garry Galley noted on Saturday night, the missing element is the Montréal alumni.
Both of those games will be visually spectacular, however, neither of them are scheduled to be televised. The NHL Network carried the alumni game in Winnipeg last season.
|2003||November 22||Commonwealth Stadium||Montréal 4, Edmonton 3|
|2011||February 20||McMahon Stadium||Calgary 4, Montréal 0|
|2014||January 1||Michigan Stadium||Toronto 3, Detroit 2 (SO)|
|2014||March 2||BC Place||Ottawa 4, Vancouver 2|
|2016||January 1||Gillette Stadium||Montréal 5, Boston 1|
|2016||October 23||Investors Group Field||Edmonton 3, Winnipeg 0|
|2017||January 1||BMO Field||Toronto 5, Detroit 4 (SO)|
For the big NHL100 classic, the NHL Network coverage is surprisingly bare. The channel didn't originally schedule a matinee rebroadcast, but eventually corrected that mistake. NBCSN is not airing a pregame show, though the NHL Network simulcast of the Rogers pregame will help.
The Saturday game will air on CBC in Canada with a Rogers Sportsnet simulcast and NBCSN in the United States. The 2-hour matinee rebroadcast will be 1 pm Eastern Sunday on the NHL Network.
NBCSN is not listing announcers. so that might mean a CBC simulcast on the game action. U.S. viewers will have to deal with studio coverage from Kathryn Tappen, Keith Jones, and Brian Boucher. Hope their studio time is limited to a brief introduction and postgame analysis.
The Rogers studio crew and Don Cherry will be on site at Lansdowne Park. An intriguing note for the game coverage: Garry Galley will join Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson on the telecast. Rogers has rarely gone to 3 announcers since forcing out Glenn Healy.
There will be plenty of music to guide you through the outdoor game: Tim Hicks will be the pregame concert artist. Serena Ryder handles O Canada. The legendary Bryan Adams will play outdoors during the second intermission. The presentation of the Greatest NHL Moment should happen during the first intermission.
Leading up to Saturday, if you want to follow the hype straight from the NHL, click here. Seems a little sad that the whole league is celebrating but hardly a peep from south of the 49th parallel.
photos credit: NHL