The Wild will play host to an NHL Stadium Series game in Minnesota in February 2016.
The outdoor game will be played at either Target Field or TCF Bank Stadium and will have an accompanying alumni game. The Chicago Blackhawks are the opponent, according to NBC Sports Network’s Bob McKenzie.
The date has not been set, but the Wild hopes to hold Hockey Day Minnesota the previous weekend at the site, and a game featuring the Wild’s Iowa farm team also could be on the docket. Details for the Stadium Series game might be announced this weekend at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio.
The NHL has been negotiating with both Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium. TCF Bank Stadium could hold more fans, but Target Field has more premium seating. One obstacle with Target Field is added costs, such as replacing the sod and winterizing the stadium.
Wild owner Craig Leipold has said his eventual goal is to host a Winter Classic on a New Year’s Day.
The Stadium Series game and alumni game are league-run events. The NHL has to rent the venue and then make sure the Wild gets the equivalent of one Xcel Energy Center gate. Once the venue is determined, the Wild will begin crunching numbers to see if it can hold Hockey Day Minnesota at the same venue the weekend before. In order to do that, the Wild would have to rent the venue and sublease the rink from the NHL.
Hockey Day Minnesota is a partnership among the Wild, Fox Sports North and Minnesota Hockey. The hope would be to have high school games and potentially a Gophers game on the outdoor rink.