The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will face-off in an outdoor regular-season game at BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in the first-ever NHL Centennial Classic™, the NHL® has announced.
In 2017, the NHL will conduct a year-long Centennial celebration that will feature a variety of ceremonies, recognitions, observances and special events that will highlight 100 years of NHL hockey and also will recognise a number of milestone anniversaries for member Clubs, including the Maple Leafs.
The game will be a rematch of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. On New Year’s Day 2014, a record crowd of 105,491 watched the Red Wings and Maple Leafs rekindle their Original Six™ rivalry at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. Snow fell throughout the day, providing the perfect backdrop for a thrilling game, which the Maple Leafs won, 3-2, in a shootout.
NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, said:
This meeting of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs offers an ideal launch for a fantastic 2017 — the year in which the National Hockey League will celebrate its Centennial, Toronto will commemorate 100 years of NHL play and Canada will observe the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Since the Red Wings and Maple Leafs made NHL outdoor history by drawing more than 105,000 people to ‘The Big House’ in 2014, this unique rematch provides a perfect beginning to an historic year for our League, our Clubs and our fans.
Additional details surrounding the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic™ – including broadcast and ticketing information and other events surrounding the game – will be announced in the coming months.
Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor, Brendan Shanahan, said:
The Toronto Maple Leafs are thrilled to host the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic and what will be a signature moment in our club’s 100th anniversary celebrations next season to share with all Leafs fans. BMO Field has been undergoing an impressive two-year long transformation and will make a wonderful site for this historic matchup with the Red Wings. We look forward to working with the NHL to help create what will be an important and memorable occasion for the game of hockey.
Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager, Ken Holland, said:
It’s an honour to participate in the first NHL Centennial Classic and celebrate the rich and storied history of both the rivalry between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs and the history of our great league. The opportunity to play outdoors against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on New Year’s Day will certainly be a memorable experience for our entire organization and our fans.
The NHL Centennial Classic™ continues the tradition the League has established of hosting a regular-season outdoor game at the onset of the new year to celebrate the origin and history of hockey. These organisations first played each other on Jan. 4, 1927, when the Toronto St. Patricks defeated the Detroit Cougars, 2-1, in a game near Detroit. Including the two games played already this season, in the 655 all-time regular-season games against each other, Detroit has captured 662 points against Toronto, holding a six-point advantage over Toronto’s 656. Additionally, the 117 playoff games between the franchises remains the second most in NHL® history (170, Boston vs. Montreal).
The current versions of the Maple Leafs and Red Wings feature some of the top talent in the NHL. Earlier this month, the Maple Leafs had two players and the Red Wings had seven players named to rosters for the World Cup of Hockey 2016. The Maple Leafs are led by 2016 NHL All-Star Leo Komarov, Nazem Kadri, and Morgan Rielly. The Red Wings roster includes star talent like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader, as well as 2016 NHL All-Star Dylan Larkin.
NHL Network™ and NHL.com will provide extensive coverage leading up to and after the game. NHL Social™ will have coverage on all social platforms, including the use of the hashtag #CentennialClassic.
About BMO Field’s redevelopment
San Francisco-headquartered architecture and planning giant, Gensler Sports, is behind the design to expand Canada’s first soccer-specific stadium and home of Toronto FC, BMO Field.
The club and Gensler are increasing capacity at the venue from 21,000 to 30,000 permanent seats, with additional temporary seating for special events to accommodate up to 40,000.
Improvements include additional general admission seating decks, suites and club areas, as well as interior alterations to locker rooms, a new Tunnel Club, an expanded Rogers Club and a new video board.
Construction is currently underway on a new Premier League-style roof canopy and modifications accommodating Canadian Football League play. BMO Field will become the new home to the Toronto Argonauts and will host the CFL’s Grey Cup in 2016.
Image: Rendering of the upgraded BMO Field, image courtesy of MLSE.