The Blackhawks could be headed outdoors for a record seventh time for the 2021 Winter Classic against the Wild at Target Field in Minneapolis, reports Greg Wyshynski of ESPN. Michael Russo of The Athletic also reported things are “trending in the right direction” for the official announcement to come in three weeks of Minnesota hosting the annual New Year’s Day outdoor game in 2021.
The Blackhawks fell to 1-5 in outdoor games, and 0-4 in Winter Classic games after a 4-2 loss to the Bruins in the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Chicago’s lone victory outdoors is a 5-2 win against the Penguins in a 2014 Stadium Series game at Solider Field.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joked about Blackhawks fatigue last January when asked about Chicago’s potential of hosting the NHL All-Star Game for the first time since 1991.
“Chicago certainly has had its share of league events,” Bettman said. “Every time we announce an outdoor game somebody thinks Chicago is going to play in it, and the announcement I made this morning was no exception because post-Notre Dame (there were) people were saying, ‘oh, must be taking the Blackhawks to Dallas.’”
The Blues appear to be the most likely option for the 2021 Winter Classic with the Avalanche and Jets both playing outdoor games this season. Winnipeg defeated the Flames 2-1 in overtime in the 2019 Heritage Classic on Oct. 26 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan. The Avalanche will host the Kings in a Stadium Series game Feb. 15, 2020, at Falcon Stadium in Air Force Academy, Colorado.
St. Louis hasn’t played in an outdoor game since a 4-1 home win against the Blackhawks in the 2017 Winter Classic at Busch Stadium.