The Heritage Classic is returning to Edmonton, and bringing one of the best rivalries in the game with it.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the outdoor NHL tilt, which has been held six times by the league thus far, will return in late 2023 to Commonwealth Stadium.
“It’s not exactly a huge secret — it’s probably one of the worst kept secrets in the NHL — the Heritage Classic is returning to Edmonton next year. But what we can also tell you is that this is going to be a Battle of Alberta,” Friedman said Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada’s 32 Thoughts segment.
“The Flames will be the opponent at Commonwealth Stadium. [There’s] not a specific date set yet, but it’s believed it’ll be in October, so it’s going to be a little warmer than the first one was 20 years ago on this anniversary.”
Commonwealth Stadium hosted the first-ever Heritage Classic back in November 2003, the Oilers claiming a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens in front of nearly 60,000 fans.
The festivities didn’t return for eight years after that, until a 2011 matchup between Calgary and Montreal under the McMahon Stadium lights. Four other iterations — at Vancouver’s BC Place in 2014, Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field in 2016, Regina’s Mosaic Stadium in 2019, and Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field in 2022 — have been held since.
The 2023 Heritage Classic will mark the third time the Oilers will participate in an outdoor game — the club having played in that inaugural Heritage Classic and the 2016 game in Winnipeg — and also the third for the Flames, who similarly hosted a Heritage Classic, in 2011, and took on Winnipeg in 2019.