Wild could host Jets in potential 2021 Winter Classic matchup

Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston examine the news around the NHL, including why the Edmonton Oilers did not acquire Taylor Hall, and the futures of both Ilya Kovalchuk and Brent Seabrook.

The Winnipeg Jets are under consideration to play in the 2021 NHL Winter Classic game against the Minnesota Wild, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

The New Year’s Day outdoor game will be hosted in downtown Minneapolis at Target Field, the home of the MLB’s Minnesota Twins, Johnston said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

“The Winnipeg Jets are at least under consideration at this point and time to be the visitor at that game,” Johnston said. “There’s already been some discussion that there’d be a natural geographical rivalry. These teams played earlier today in St. Paul and there was a number of Jets fans that made the trip down.”

Neither the Jets nor the Wild have played in an NHL Winter Classic game previously. The Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs are the only Canadian teams that have appeared in the NHL Winter Classic.

“There’s also talk about the Chicago Blackhawks potentially seeing yet another outdoor game, maybe the St. Louis Blues,” Johnston said. “But I think if the Wild get their way, it will be a Minnesota-Winnipeg game on New Year’s Day in 2021.”

The Chicago Blackhawks have appeared four times in the showcase, which is the most among NHL teams. The St. Louis Blues have one appearance in the NHL Winter Classic, where they took on the Blackhawks at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

The first NHL Winter Classic, featuring the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, was held on Jan. 1, 2008, at Ralph Wilson Stadium (now called New Era Field) outside of Buffalo, New York.

Since then, the Winter Classic has been held in additional NFL stadiums, MLB ballparks and several NCAA football stadiums, including Notre Dame Stadium last year and Michigan Stadium in 2014.

The 2020 NHL Winter Classic will be held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas and will feature the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.

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