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The Los Angeles City Council scored a tremendous victory for the people of LA by unanimously approving the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and other environmental and entitlement agreements for the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) stadium development, which will pave the way for jobs, revenue and the continued revitalisation of South Los Angeles.

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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 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.

Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) unveiled its logo and colours on Thursday, but it was the addition of Will Ferrell as one of the MLS team’s new part-owners that really stole the show.

Riot Games co-founder and CEO Brandon Beck was also introduced as a new part-owner, but nearly all of the buzz created inside Union Station in downtown Los Angeles surrounded Ferrell. The comedian took the stage about 25 minutes into the presentation and was introduced by another part-owner, former U.S women’s national team star Mia Hamm.

The club is owned by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan and American venture capitalist Henry Nguyen with Magic Johnson, Peter Guber, Tony Robbins, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra among the minority partners.

Also in attendance were members of the LAFC fan group, Black Army 1850, which originally was affiliated with the now-defunct Chivas USA. Members from as far away as Palmdale, a 60-mile drive from downtown LA, were on the scene.

Ferrell said:

It’s thrilling to see a turnout like this. The fact that we have people from Palmdale is impressive. If we’re already reaching out to Palmdale, you know we’re in good shape.

LAFC President Tom Penn, who also works as an NBA analyst for ESPN, indicated that it was another part-owner, Larry Berg, who approached Ferrell about joining the ownership group; with Berg’s children playing on the same soccer team as Ferrell’s.

What followed was a series of meetings with Penn, managing partner Nguyen and LAFC Executive Chairman Guber.

Penn said:

Ferrell was really enthusiastic about it and now he’s a member of the club.

The additions swelled LAFC’s ownership ranks to 26.

New LAFC club logo unveiled

The club also unveiled its official crest and club colours at the press conference crest, revealing a wing incorporated into an “LA” monogram. While black has been part of LAFC’s identity from the start, the club’s shade of dark gold appears to be unique in the league. Nguyen says LAFC also will incorporate splashes of red into its schemes.

Crest designer Matthew Wolff said each element of his work tied into the city of Los Angeles.


The crest, “100% made of Los Angeles,” derived its outline from the Seal of the City, incorporating an Art Deco-inspired typeface (Neutraface) based on the signage of architect Richard Neutra, a nod to Downtown Los Angeles’ rich collection of buildings designed in that style.

Pitch Black and California Gold colour the crest, and are meant to embody the success, urban texture and glamour of Los Angeles. A flash of Glory Red represents the team’s home in the heart of the city, with Asphalt and Wolff Gray complements.

The “LA” monogram incorporates a wing intended to pay homage to the “City of Angels” with its power, mobility and aspirational nature. The four blades represent the four club pillars, and the city’s founding date of Sept. 4, 1781.

New soccer-specific Stadium

LAFC is committed to building a 22,000-seat soccer-specific venue, bringing USD$250m in private investments to South Los Angeles; with the club slated to join MLS from 2018.

The entire development has been designed by LA-based architectural firm Gensler and will also include restaurants, office space, a conference centre and soccer museum.

Johnson said:

We are not only committed to creating a dynamic soccer experience for our fans, but are equally excited about the impact our stadium and facilities will have in reshaping and revitalising South Los Angeles.

The construction of the new stadium in the underdeveloped South Los Angeles area is expected to produce a one-time economic activity of more than USD$275m and over 1,200 new union and non-union jobs. Additionally, once open, the new stadium is estimated to generate more than USD$129m in new economic activity, create more than 1,800 full-time jobs and produce USD$2.5m in annual tax revenue.