The NHL officially announced today that the New York Islanders will take on the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 29th, 2014 as part of the league’s Coors Light Stadium Series.
“The innovative nature of the Stadium Series affords the opportunity to have all three NHL teams in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area play, outdoors, at one of the most-recognized stadiums in the world,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
The showdown will be the second professional hockey game to be held at legendary Yankee Stadium. The first will be held just 3 days prior as the Rangers and Devils square off. This will be the Islanders first game at an outdoor venue. Prior to this, the team had yet to take part in one of the league’s “Winter Classics.” For what it’s worth, the Rangers will be more adept to the outdoor setting, having played at the Stadium three days prior, as well as having previous outdoor experience beating the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
“The New York Islanders are honored to take part in the National Hockey League’s outdoor stadium series,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. “Our fan-base is one of the most passionate in the NHL. The support we consistently receive from our fans was on display during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and I expect it to be on an even greater scale when we take on the Rangers. This is what makes the games against the Rangers one of the best rivalries in the league. I look forward to seeing a strong contingent of the orange and blue in the stands at Yankee Stadium.”
It’ll be interesting to see how much Isles’ nation supports that last statement by GM Garth Snow. Clearly rejuvenated following an impressive second half surge and a positive-laced first round exit of the 2013 playoffs, will the Long Island masses head towards the Bronx? There have been many who have expressed concern about the team relocating to Brooklyn for future seasons. How will they respond to the Bronx commute for a single regular season game? Last time I Google mapped it, The Bronx was way further than the Barclays Center. With that said, Isles’ fans will have to digest home games being taken away from Nassau County sooner than later. With the official release of the Yankee Stadium games, the Rangers will be visiting the Islanders. 2013-2014 home games at the Coliseum, 40.
Having the New York section of the Stadium Series played the same week as the 2014 Super Bowl opens up a whole other can of worms for the New York Tri-State area, but it seems the NHL wants to strike on one of their few revenue producing ideas of the last decade. The only thing that will disappoint about having the Islanders play an outdoor game next season will be not having Alexei Yashin on the gameday roster. Who’s gonna rock the turtleneck? I nominate Franzy!