Flames outdoor game in doubt

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

MONTREAL -- It looks like the NHL is going to rain on Calgary's plans for an outdoor game at McMahon Stadium.

The topic of the popular outdoor games was raised yesterday in a competition committee meeting being held in conjunction with the NHL Entry Draft and while no final decisions on outdoor games for this upcoming season have been made, it looks like there will be only one on the schedule this year.

That's expected to be played at Boston's Fenway Park between the Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers.

"The idea of a game in Calgary was tossed out there, but there wasn't a vote on anything. We should know in the next two weeks," said one NHL source.

"I don't think it's going to happen (in Calgary). They went and checked it out and I don't think the facility worked. But that could change. We'll know more in two weeks or so."

Another league source familiar with the McMahon Stadium proposal said he didn't think an outdoor game at the home of the CFL's Stampeders could yield as much revenue as some other proposed venues.

"It's got to work from a dollar point of view before they even get into the logistics of it," said the source. "Can they generate the kind of money other games have generated?"

With plans to install about 9,000 temporary seats for the 2009 Grey Cup game in November, there's been rumblings the second half of a Winter Classic double-header would be played at McMahon Stadium on New Year's Day 2010.

Speculation hit a fevered pitch last Friday, when NHL ice guru Dan Craig showed up at a Stampeders practice with a digital camera.

But McMahon Stadium manager John Haverstock hasn't heard a word from the NHL since Craig visited the venue .

Haverstock said yesterday he was left with the impression Craig might be "scouting out a few different venues around the league."

"At that time, I can tell you it was far from a slam-dunk as far as it happening from the NHL's point of view," he said.

"There didn't seem to be anything jumping out as a problem logistically. The bigger thing is, would it happen from an NHL standpoint?"

The Flames haven't denied their interest in hosting an outdoor game at some point, although club president Ken King told the Sun last Friday it was far from a done deal for the upcoming NHL season.

"We are nowhere beyond that of a concept and an idea that the league is working on and it isn't past the concept stage, to my knowledge," he said.

King could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Haverstock wouldn't slam the door on the idea of hosting an outdoor game at McMahon Stadium in the future, even if it doesn't pan out for the 2009-10 season.

"We'll listen. I think it would be a big event for the city and good on a lot of levels, so we would certainly be all ears to anything the NHL wanted to talk about," he said.


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