The Minnesota Wild have no one to blame but themselves for yet another snub against the “state of hockey.”
Multiple sources say the National Hockey League has again passed over Minnesota for the annual New Year’s Day Winter Classic outdoor game in favor of Boston, which will play the Montreal Canadiens.
It will be the second time in six seasons the Bruins have hosted the game at Fenway Park; it played Philadelphia in 2010.
What’s up with that, Twin Cities?
“The fans, the hockey environment, the weather, this is the State of Hockey after all,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told the Star Tribune last winter. “We’re very focused on Minnesota.”
And by “very focused”, Bettman means “hardly at all.”
So far, the game has been played in Buffalo (2008), Chicago (2009), Boston (2010), Pittsburgh (2011), Philadelphia (2012), Ann Arbor, Michigan (2014).
The Pioneer Press said last week the NHL is requiring the Wild to have star players, make a playoff run, and be more nationally known.
The team has signed its share of stars, but has played lackluster hockey and figures to miss the playoffs this season.
The NHL will likely award a “Stadium Series” game to Minnesota, which has nowhere near the cachet of a New Year’s Day game.