It is now official. At today’s Winter Classic the commissioner of the NHL Gary Bettman announced that the Wild will host the event but the opponent has not yet been announced.
Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announces Target Field in Minnesota as host as next year’s Winter Classic. No opponent announced, but, as @reporterchris has indicated — Jets are among the possibilities
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 1, 2020
We know the Jets have been mentioned although John Shannon has indicated the Blues have the inside track
Inside track for the opponent is the St Louis Blues. But not totally done yet. https://t.co/93mAGVaTCh
— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) January 1, 2020
Team beat writer Sarah McLellan put out this tweet:
#mnwild‘s opponent will be announced at a later date. Team hasn’t been finalized but league has a good idea of who it might be. Factors included in decision: rivalry, TV rating and whose fan base will travel to MSP.
— Sarah McLellan (@sarah__mclellan) January 1, 2020
Traveling fan base sure sounds like it would be right up the alley of Jets fans as we know how well they travel to Minnesota for sporting events. Of course the key factor for NBC is ratings and the Jets, despite all their stars, are a Canadian team. To date only the Leafs (twice) and Habs (once) have been selected for a Winter Classic or Stadium Series game.
Given the rivalry between the teams on the ice and the proximity to each other from a geographic perspective the Jets would certainly make for a good opponent in the Winter Classic in 2021.
Michael Russo of The Athletic Minnesota wrote a comprehensive article about the topic. Click here.