The NHL has finally gotten around to announcing the final installment of the six-part miniseries no one asked for.
The last outdoor game of the 2013-14 season is a go, as the league formally rolled out its plans for the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, a clash between the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators set to take place at Vancouver's BC Place Stadium on Sunday, March 2.
The other outdoor games have been official for some time now. What took the league so long here? Were they waffling on whether it was a good idea to hold an outdoor game in Vancouver, which gets very little actual cold weather even in the dead of winter, in March? Or perhaps they were trying to sort out the conundrum of whether a game played in a stadium with a retractable roof is in any way, shape or form an outdoor game? Or maybe they were just wondering if a sixth outdoor hockey games was overkill, especially when it would actually be a warm weather indoor game?
Nah. Just lining up the sponsor. From the NHL:
"With one of the world's great facilities as the setting, and one of the world's most scenic cities as the backdrop, the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ at BC Place in Vancouver will honor hockey's Canadian heritage," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "With the excitement, the entertainment, the competitiveness and the fun of this game, the Canucks and Senators will create special memories for hockey fans everywhere."
[...] One of the cornerstones of the NHL's event strategy, the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ took place on a sun-drenched afternoon in Calgary where the home team skated away with a 4-0 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
A cornerstone that has quietly gone unmentioned for three seasons.
Okay. I shouldn't snark on this game too badly. Like all the other outdoor games, it will undoubtedly be a fun event, and as a West Coast-based hockey fan, it's nice to be thrown a bone.
But it would be nicer if said thrown bone didn't also double as evidence that the lustre of the Winter Classic is soon to be long gone.