(Reuters) - The New York Rangers will play two outdoor games at Yankee Stadium early next year as part of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Stadium Series, the league said on Wednesday.
The Rangers will face off against the New Jersey Devils on January 26 and then battle the New York Islanders on January 29 in the first hockey games to be played at the Major League Baseball stadium which seats over 50,000 people.
“The Stadium Series affords the opportunity to have all three NHL teams in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area play, outdoors, at one of the most-celebrated stadiums in the world,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
“We’ll be able to create a multi-faceted, multi-day experience for our fans.”
Next season’s four-game Stadium Series kicks off on January 25 when the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings take on the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium, home of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.
The series concludes March 1 when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field, home of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears.
Outdoor games have been staged by the NHL in some of baseball’s and American football’s iconic stadiums for a decade.
“We have long thought that Yankee Stadium would be a great venue for outdoor hockey,” said Lonn Trost, New York Yankees chief operating officer. “In addition to being a first-class baseball facility, Yankee Stadium was designed to house unique and memorable events.”
Another focal point of the NHL season is the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, which next year will pit the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium, the football venue for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue