Regina’s New Year rolled in with a bang, courtesy the NHL.
Come October, the city’s Mosaic Stadium will play host to an outdoor NHL game, the league announced Tuesday afternoon.
The Calgary Flames will take on the Winnipeg Jets in the Queen City on Oct. 26.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the news during the second intermission of the Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium, while the Chicago Blackhawks battled the Boston Bruins.
Regina Exhibition Association CEO Tim Reid said contacting the NHL was one of the first things he did when he took on the position in January of 2018.
Fast forward 11 months later and NHL officials were in the house for the Roughriders playoff game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers – something he said was a major selling point.
“Minutes after they walked away, they knew this would be a great venue,” Reid said.
Snow was falling in the background, making the stadium look like a snow globe as Mayor Michael Fougere expressed his excitement over the NHL coming to town.
“It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to turn around and see – it looks like one big hockey rink right now – so it’s going to be wonderful absolutely incredible,” Fougere enthused.
In November 2018, there were rumblings about an outdoor game planned for Regina, but a deal hadn’t been reached at that time. Reid said the contract was finalized just before Christmas.
During last year’s Western Hockey League regular season, the Regina Pats tried hosting an outdoor NHL alumni game at Mosaic Stadium but ended up moving it inside the Brandt Centre due to the weather and poor ticket sales.
The Flames-Jets game is part of the NHL’s Heritage Classic series.
The most recent instalment of the event was in 2016 in Winnipeg, when the Jets lost 3-0 to the Edmonton Oilers.
The Flames hosted the Montreal Canadiens in the 2011 Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, winning 4-0.
The NHL said it will release ticketing and broadcast information about the 2019 game at a later date. Reid said fans can expect ticket prices to be similar to other Winter and Heritage Classics.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, when Winnipeg hosted the Heritage Classic in 2016, prices ranged from $185 to $699 which included tickets to both the Heritage Classic and the alumni game.
The snowy future home of the Heritage Classic. pic.twitter.com/n14dt0nPbx
— Arielle Zerr (@arielle_zerr) January 1, 2019