By Patrick Kelly
With the 2019-20 season stopped and then finished in a bubble, there was little question that the 2020-21 season would have cancellations and special rules. So it was that news came out Wednesday when the NHL announced the postponement of the 2021 Winter Classic that was slated to take place in Minnesota between the Wild and the St. Louis Blues, along with the All-Star Weekend that was scheduled for the Florida Panthers to host. With Covid-19 surging in many states including Florida, which is one of the top five worst hit states, it’s no surprise the NHL sees no way fans would be allowed in any type of full capacity manner next season. That being said, both the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game generate a lot of revenue from the NHL and clearly the expenses necessary are too much to try and break even.
Given that the NHL was one of the first leagues to jump on the bubble bandwagon, it’s also no surprise that the league had started thinking of a backup plan. The idea that had been considered would be to start the season on Lake Louise in Alberta. Lake Louise is a glacial lake located in Banff National Park. It is known for its hiking and skiing destinations, but to the hockey world it is also one of the most beautiful outdoor rinks in the world. Unfortunately this option had to be thrown aside when problems arose with advertising and sponsorships in a National Park. Although Lake Louise is out of the question now the NHL still is on that path of a game out in the elements, with an added fixture to accommodate these special times.