Leafs celebrate 100 years with outdoor home game at BMO Field

Brendan Shanahan sat down with Daren Millard to talk about the Maple Leafs' upcoming outdoor game, the Centennial Classic against the Red Wings.

In celebration of their 100th birthday, the Toronto Maple Leafs will ring in the new year by hosting an outdoor game at BMO Field.

The Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings are all set for an open-air rematch Jan. 1, 2017, but it won’t be called a Winter Classic. Instead, it’ll be called Centennial Classic.

Due to NFL Sunday falling on New Year’s Day, the official 2017 Winter Classic will be pushed to Monday, Jan. 2, thus better accommodating U.S. television audiences. That game will feature the Chicago Blackhawks traveling to St. Louis’s Busch Stadium to face the Blues, who celebrate their 50th season in 2016-17.

“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,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “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.”

The Original Six rivals faced off in the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, a contest the Leafs won 3-2 in a shootout.

“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,” Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor Brendan Shanahan said. “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.”

This game is, of course, in addition to the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers, which takes place Oct. 23, the Winter Classic between the Blues and Blackhawks on Jan. 2 and the Stadium Series game between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at Heinz Field on Feb. 18.

Toronto had originally made a pitch to host the 2017 NHL Draft and 2017 NHL All-Star Game in addition to the outdoor game. Those events were awarded to Chicago and Los Angeles, respectively.