It’s finally official: the Islanders and Rangers play one another in an outdoor game at Yankee Stadium.
Reports that an outdoor matchup between the two New York rivals surfaced back on April 16. The game will be played as part of the 2014 Coors Light Stadium series.
“The New York Islanders are honored to take part in the National Hockey League’s outdoor stadium series,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said in a press release. “Our fan-base is one of the most passionate in the NHL. The support we consistently receive from our fans was on display during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and I expect it to be on an even greater scale when we take on the Rangers. This is what makes the games against the Rangers one of the best rivalries in the league. I look forward to seeing a strong contingent of the orange and blue in the stands at Yankee Stadium.”
The face-off for the Yankee Stadium game is set for 7:30 p.m. It will be the second game that week to take place at the stadium in the Bronx. Three day prior, the Rangers and Devils will play one another there.
Christian’s Comments: The idea of having several outdoor games in one season has been met with mixed reviews from hockey fans. Some like it, and some are understandable against. But with all of that being said, the idea of two games in New York, especially one that includes the Islanders, is an exciting prospect.
Both games will take place during Super Bowl week in New York and that gives the NHL an opportunity to show off its product to new sponsors, who are going to already be in town for the nation’s biggest single sporting event. It is a chance for the league to show how exciting hockey can be and why it would be worth investing in.
You also have the massive media attention it will also garner. New York is the biggest sports market and when its hockey teams are successful reporters come out in droves to cover the sport. Just look at last years New York Rangers run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now think of the attention this will get if both the Rangers and Islanders are doing well leading into the outdoor game.
Finally, from an Islanders perspective this is a huge sign that the league is taking notice to what is happening on Long Island. The Isles just wrapped up a season where the team surprised everybody and made it to the playoffs. And then shocked the Pittsburgh Penguins, taking the opening round series to six games. John Tavares is quickly becoming a bona fide superstar in the league and is up for the Hart Trophy. And things are looking up for the Islanders. The fact that the league has decided to include them in what will be a showcase of the NHL’s product is a major stepping stone.