WINNIPEG — It’s official. Winnipeg is hosting the 2016 Heritage Classic game between the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers on October 23.
The NHL made the announcement on Sunday afternoon at the MTS Centre.
Former Winnipeg Jets player, Dale Hawerchuk was in attendance, who said he will be playing for the Jets Legends team for the Alumni Game on Oct. 22.
“This isn’t my first outdoor game Winnipeg,” he said at the media conference. ” I would sneak out to play at a rink in Charleswood back in the day.”
Hawerchuk also said Jets legend, Teemu Selane will be playing on the Legends team.
Former Edmonton Oilers player and NHL legend, Wayne Gretzky also made an appearance at the announcement via video steam from Los Angeles. He will captain Edmonton Oilers Legends team.
He said the event is special to him so will be playing and confirmed other greats are joining the Edmonton line-up including, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri.
Mark Chipman said the Alumni Game will be played in original jerseys, but has not confirmed about the Heritage Classic game.
“We did this because we really thought it was the best way to celebrate the history of all things Winnipeg Jets,” he said.
Chipman also said Winnipeg Jets season ticket holders will have access to both the Heritage Classic and Legends games.
The game will be played at Investors Group Field – home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and extra seats will not be added for the two games.
The CFL club has a two week hole in its schedule in late October meaning the outdoor hockey game will be played weekend of October 22-23.
The Bombers final regular season home game is Saturday, October 29.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman admitted at January’s Winter Classic in Foxborough, Massachusetts that it was time Winnipeg hosted an outdoor hockey game.
“We do owe Winnipeg a game,” said Bettman. “We would’ve been there last year but the Grey Cup and some complications.”
Winnipeg’s outdoor hockey game was initially slated to happen this season but was delayed due to scheduling conflicts with the 103rd Grey Cup. Renovations at Investors Group Field started immediately following the CFL championship game.
Fans took to social media to express their excitement not only for the 2016 Heritage Classic , but also the Legends game.
© 2016 Shaw Media