The NHL Winter Classic, thanks to successful outdoor games at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008 and Chicago's Wrigley Field this year, is quickly becoming a New Year's Day tradition. Now the National Hockey League may be expanding it. Multiple sources are reporting that the league plans to turn the next Winter Classic into a doubleheader. The plan, if approved by the NHL's competition committee, would add an outdoor game in Calgary at McMahon Stadium on Jan. 1, 2010.
The game in Calgary would follow the one that is widely expected to be played at Boston's Fenway Park, with the Bruins rumored to be opposed by the Washington Capitals or Philadelphia Flyers. If a second game is played in Calgary, the Flames would likely play the Vancouver Canucks or one of the other Canadian-based teams.
I assume Canada wants a shot at a Winter Classic, with the first two games (and, presumably, the 2010 game in Boston) exclusively involving teams from American cities. My guess is the league is afraid that having the only New Year's Day game involve even one Canadian team would lower the TV ratings in the USA. On the other hand, the CBC (who, according to their own report, suggested the doubleheader to the NHL) would likely get higher ratings for a game involving Canadian teams.
I certainly don't see NBC televising both games, meaning the Calgary game would either not be shown in the USA or be televised on Versus or the NHL Network. Even with the strong ratings for this year's Stanley Cup finals, I can't help but think that having two games every New Year's Day would water down the concept.