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Report: NHL closer to playing outdoor game in Chicago

The Sports Network/TSN.ca Staff

7/7/2008 11:05:21 AM

St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings will play at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day in the league's second Winter Classic. Montreal and Edmonton participated in the Heritage Classic, the NHL's first outdoor game, back in 2003.

According to the report, the game was finally approved last week when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman met with the Hawks, Cubs and Mayor Richard Daley.

The NHL has said that an official announcement likely won't be made until closer to the time the 2008-09 season schedule is released, likely in mid-July.

However, the report states that an announcement is expected next week before the inaugural "Blackhawks Convention" at the Chicago Hilton.

Last New Year's Day, Sidney Crosby scored on the final chance of the shootout to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres in the first NHL game played outdoors in the United States.

The game was played before an NHL-record crowd of 71,217 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York -- home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills.