Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Rangers vs. Isles at Yankee Stadium?" amNY 06/28/06

Rangers vs. Isles at Yankee Stadium?
Newsday Staff Writer

June 27, 2006, 7:21 PM EDT

A Rangers-Islanders game in frosty Yankee Stadium in December or on New Year's Day? It's a possibility.

Preliminary discussions between NHL and Yankees executives, the two NHL teams, city officials and NBC -- which would televise the proposed Jan. 1 regular-season contest between the arch rivals -- began last week, according to numerous people with knowledge of the talks.

"Everybody likes the idea," said one person. "But there are some obstacles. The question is whether the stadium will be usable at that time of year for that purpose."

The NHL staged the only outdoor game in its history on Nov. 22, 2003, at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, home of the Edmonton Eskimos football team, and wants to recapture that buzz with an outdoor game in the United States between U.S.-based teams. More than 56,000 fans bundled up in near-zero-degree weather -- doubling the record for the largest crowd to even watch an NHL game -- and saw the Montreal Canadiens edge the Edmonton Oilers 4-3.

"A request has been made to use the stadium for an NHL game in the 2006-2007 season," Yankees spokesman Rick Cerrone confirmed last night. "The matter is under discussion."

One NHL team executive said last night that dates in December also had been presented and might be more acceptable. NBC, however, which will be televising NFL games on Sunday night this season, is said to be seeking New Year's Day. It has the time available; the network does not televise college games on Jan. 1 anymore.

Yankee Stadium, which was built in 1923 and renovated in the mid-1970s, has hosted summer events for decades, but nothing in the winter since the NFL's New York Giants left in 1973. Yankees officials are examining whether the aging infrastructure -- water pipes, for example -- could handle the low temperatures and the logistics and feasibility of constructing an NHL-quality rink without damaging the infield.

The stadium has been used almost exclusively for baseball since 2001, though Billy Joel performed in August 1990 and U2 took the stage there in August 1992.

With next season's schedule due to be released in mid-July, league sources said it's unlikely there will be an outdoor game at any venue this season. "But schedules can always be changed," said a team executive.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that the league was indeed exploring the possibility of another outdoor game.


At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Nancy said...

This sounds like an exciting idea -- it would be a real classic! New Years Day, though, might not be a huge draw with all of the competition from football, hangovers, etc.!

The Red Sox are making good usage and getting extra revenue from Fenway Park by renting it out for rock concerts, etc.


Post a Comment

<< Home