The 2021 Winter Classic was postponed by the NHL in October, but could we still have outdoor games during the upcoming 2020-21 season?
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wrote Thursday that, "at least four NHL teams are investigating the possibility of playing home games in outdoor stadia if it will allow them to have fans in attendance."
Friedman lists the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins among the teams looking into this scenario.
Friedman also makes the point that costs associated with staging outdoor games would be huge, and that some teams aren't too keen on "the idea of switching between indoor and outdoor venues during the season."
So, it sounds like there are very real obstacles to this scenario actually happening. Friedman himself calls it "a long shot."
The out-of-the-box idea does make some sense given the unique circumstances surrounding pro sports, though.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in sports leagues and teams losing a lot of revenue over the last year, and with the pandemic unlikely to end for some time, it's smart of these teams to brainstorm any ideas to increase revenue.
Getting fans to games and buying tickets, souvenirs, concessions, etc., is obviously a huge revenue driver for leagues and teams. The Bruins, like most other NHL teams, have not hosted a game at their home arena since March.
Where would the Bruins play if they had home games outdoors?
Here's what Friedman wrote: "The Bruins have been in contact with state and city officials about different options. I had heard specific mention of Fenway Park, and was told that is in an “exploratory phase,” but it was stressed all venue options are being considered."
The Bruins played at Fenway Park for the 2010 Winter Classic, where they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime. They also hosted the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium -- home of the NFL's New England Patriots -- and lost to the Montreal Canadiens. The B's beat the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium in the 2019 Winter Classic, too.
It's unknown when the 2020-21 season will begin. Jan. 1 was the target date for the league and NHLPA, but at this point, that starting point no longer seems doable.