New York State In-depth

The NHL is “more than happy” to host another Winter Classic at the new Bills Stadium

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – The NHL Winter Classic could return to where it started when the Bills’ new football stadium at Orchard Park is ready to host the outdoor hockey game.

“You have to promise me another Snow Globe Day,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday while he was in Buffalo to watch the Sabers hoist Ryan Miller’s banners atop the rafters of the KeyBank Center.

It’s Miller time in Buffalo

“This is a great sports city,” added Bettman. “It’s a great hockey market. Yes, if there’s a new stadium, we’d be happy to bring back an outdoor game.”

Bettman called the inaugural NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium “a spectacular day that lingers in my memory and I’m sure all of you.”

“It was a perfect day and defined what has become an incredible event,” Bettman said. “I think we just did our 36th outdoor game and they were all amazing. This year’s Fenway was great. We’re going to have a game in Carolina. We’re getting a little bolder, but our teams, our markets and our fans’ appetite for these games continues unabated.”

Plans to build a new soccer stadium at Orchard Park adjacent to the current one give Bettman confidence that Terry and Kim Pegula, who own both the Bills and Sabers franchises, will upgrade the downtown Buffalo arena built in 1996.

“Given what the Pegulas have invested in Buffalo, I have no doubt they will do the right things at the right time,” Bettman said. “Whether it was the area around the canal and here, whether it’s the new football stadium and ultimately what was built around this arena. And what this arena needs, I have no doubt that it will be taken care of here.”

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Jonah Bronstein joined News 4’s roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more about his work here.

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