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NHL takes Winter Classic to Target Field

The NHL ice hockey league has announced that Target Field will host the 2021 edition of its Winter Classic event.

The stadium, which serves as the home of the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball franchise, will host the game on January 1 next year.

The Minnesota Wild will serve as the host team for the 2021 game, with an opponent to be announced at a later date. It will mark the first time that Minnesota has held the Winter Classic.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement yesterday (Wednesday) as the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators contested the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Bettman said: “(Wild owner) Craig Leipold has been, to say persistent would be a gross understatement, over the last few years wanting to host a Winter Classic, and we’re excited to go.

“My guess is the temperature there is about 30 degrees cooler than it is here (Dallas) right now (54.9 Fahrenheit), but it should make for a great experience in the State of Hockey.”

Yesterday’s Winter Classic attracted a bumper crowd of 85,360, making it the second-most attended game in the history of the NHL. The record attendance remains 105,491, which was set at the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

Target Field will become the seventh MLB stadium to host the game, joining Citi Field, Busch Stadium, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.

Leipold said: “Target Field is a fantastic ballpark and there is no better place for the NHL’s marquee event than right here in the State of Hockey. We are grateful for the opportunity to treat our fans to an incredibly unique and exciting experience celebrating our favourite game and would like to thank NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for his support and the Minnesota Twins organisation for their help in securing this event.”

Image: Minnesota Wild