Gary Bettman.

NHL to mark centennial with outdoor hockey

Senators, Canadiens to mark NHL centennial with outdoor game in December

OTTAWA – As the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators battle for supremacy in Atlantic Division standings this weekend, the two NHL teams announced Friday they’re taking their long-standing rivalry outside.

“It’s the ultimate reality show,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters in Ottawa after announcing an outdoor game between the Sens and Canadiens on Dec. 16 to mark the league’s Centennial.

Ottawa will host the game at TD Place, home of the CFL Ottawa Redblacks, after plans fell through to hold the classic on Parliament Hill.

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk wanted the game on the Hill, but government officials rejected the proposal over the cost and logistics involved in building an ice surface big enough, not to mention temporary seating for up to 40,000 fans.

Instead, an outdoor rink will be frozen onto the football field just three weeks after the CFL’s Grey Cup is played at TD Place, which will be expanded to 34,000 seats. The extra stands will be left up so that the Senators and Habs can use the venue.

The game will take place almost 100 years after Ottawa and Montreal met on the NHL’s opening night of Dec. 19, 1917.

It will also be the final event to celebrate the modern-day Senators’ 25th anniversary in the league, as well as Canada’s 150th birthday.

The fact the outdoor clash was announced Friday will only heat up the rivalry between the two teams as they prepare to go head to head in coming days, said Melnyk.

“This coming weekend you’ll see it,” he said. “I think it’s a very healthy rivalry.”

The Senators and Habs will meet this weekend starting Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Centre and Sunday at the Bell Centre, with the Senators heading back to Montreal next Saturday night to end the series.

The December game will mark the fourth time the Canadiens have played on an outdoor surface, all of them away games.

But it’s only the second for the Senators since the inaugural Heritage Classic was hosted by Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium in 2003, and team captain Erik Karlsson couldn’t contain his excitement.

“We’re a smaller community, but we have a lot of passion,” Karlsson said.

“I think it’s going to be a great hockey game … we’re extremely excited as a team.”

In their first game in 1917, Montreal defeated the original Ottawa Senators 7-4.

– Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Grant funding denied for Fort Rupert Curling Club’s new roof, District on the hook for full costs

“I think we did our job in helping the curling club have a facility that is no longer leaking.”

Port Hardy Fire Rescue puts out structure fire

Approximately 20 firefighters responded to the incident.

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw warns dealers and bootleggers they are not welcome

“My hope is that our community works together on this problem as one.”

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Tri-Port Midget Wild shutout Clippers at home, continue red hot winning streak

Tri-Port Midget Wild forward Mackenzie Murgatroyd scores natural hat trick, leads team to victory.

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kids chained in Calif. house of horrors; parents arrested

Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

“This man is reprehensible,” tweeted former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka

‘I shouldn’t have to have a husband:’ Winnipeg woman criticizes men-only club

Jodi Moskal discovered the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club continues to ban women as members, as it has done since opening in 1909.

Japan public TV sends mistaken North Korean missile alert

The false alarm came two days after Hawaii’s emergency management department sent a mistaken warning

Toronto girl dies after being pinned between vehicles while picked up from school

Police say an SUV with no driver in it rolled forward and pinned the girl against her father’s car

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

Most Read