Columbus Is "On The Radar" For An Outdoor Game, According to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

By Rob Mixer on September 26, 2018 at 11:09 am
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman answers questions during a press conference at the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
Stephen R. Sylvanie – USA TODAY Sports

This will perk up your ears, Columbus.

For years, Blue Jackets fans have longed for an outdoor game – Winter Classic, Stadium Series, you name it – held in their city at Ohio Stadium. It just makes too much sense. 

Columbus has shown the NHL that it can handle big events (and put on a quite a show in the process). The 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend earned rave reviews and the city turned out for an incredible event, and with the Blue Jackets experiencing more on-ice success than at any point in their history, the conversation around an outdoor game has ratcheted up again.

The Blue Jackets are one of a small handful of teams to have not participated in one of the league's outdoor showcases. Meanwhile, natural draws like the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and others have multiple appearances in these events – which has only added to the noise surrounding getting other markets involved.

Bettman met with reporters during Tuesday's Kraft Hockeyville game in Clinton, N.Y., and when asked about the Blue Jackets' recent run of success, indicated that it's got the NHL's attention in more than one way.

"It's obvious that the team is competitive, that they're playing exciting hockey, that the fans are reacting in positive ways," Bettman said. "It's even at the point where internally – we're not there yet – we've started focusing on the possibility of an outdoor game."

Things that make you go "hmmmm...."

Bettman said the process is still in its very early stages, and that the league hasn't yet done a site survey to his knowledge. Regardless, the commissioner outwardly mentioning the possibility and the league's active consideration is a positive sign for Columbus and the Blue Jackets. 

Imagine a Red Wings-Blue Jackets game at Ohio Stadium, with the potential of Ohio State and Michigan playing a college hockey game as part of a larger event. The city would go absolutely bonkers for it.

"We've been talking about it internally," Bettman said. "(Columbus is) on our radar screen to go to places we haven't been."

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