Next NHL Stadium Series in the NYC Area Will be Better Than the Last

NHL Stadium Series, New York Rangers. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NHL Stadium Series, New York Rangers. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

A few months ago, it began to be rumored that MetLife Stadium would host an NHL Stadium Series game in the 2023-2024 NHL season. MetLife Stadium is home to the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL, but infamously actually located just across the Hudson River in New Jersey.

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils were the two most likely teams to play in any potential outdoor game there.

Well, the Rangers and the Devils will have their date outdoors, albeit on separate nights, and not against each other. The Devils will face off against their turnpike rival, the Philadelphia Flyers (I can’t wait to see what havoc Gritty will pull in the Meadowlands).

Then, the Rangers will face off against their interstate rival, the New York Islanders. The games have been confirmed by Dave Pagnotta of the Athletic via Twitter, but not the NHL officially.

The NHL Stadium Series in the NYC area will be better than the 2014 edition.

The NHL seems to have learned some lessons since their inaugural Stadium Series games back in New York at Yankee Stadium in 2014.

First, they found a way to get all three New York area teams involved without having to have the Rangers play twice. Initial speculation of a Devils vs Rangers outdoor game would have left the Islanders out, but this two-game schedule found a way to include the team from Belmont Park.

The Flyers were an interesting idea, but a smart one. The Flyers have a passionate fan base that lives a short drive away and is sure to show up and buy tickets, in large numbers. That’s in addition to the large contingent of Flyers fans that already live on the Jersey side.

Unfortunately for Flyers fans, next year looks to be a painful one of rebuilding. By including the next closest team, Flyers fans at least have something to keep them relevant and look forward to.

The Rangers cannot, and will not, be the home team for their game against the Islanders. While you might expect the seats to be filled with more Rangers jerseys, making it feel like a Rangers “home game”, there is a business and legal reason behind it.

Since 1982, Madison Square Garden has been exempt from paying property taxes on the condition that the Rangers and New York Knicks play all their home games there. Playing at MetLife, even though a one-off event, could put that tax break into jeopardy.

The same thinking was used in 2014 when the Devils and Islanders were considered the “home teams” at Yankee Stadium.

These games will likely take place later than the 2014 NHL Stadium Series games, which took place in late January of 2014. Both the stadium’s NFL teams hope to be playing playoff football by then.

Don’t forget the much-hyped addition of Aaron Rodgers to the Jets that put the Jets into the Super Bowl favorite conversation.

Whenever the NHL has an outdoor game, they need free reign over the stadium for about two weeks (12 days for the last NHL Stadium Series game in Carolina) to build the rink, the ice, and all the other infrastructure needed for an outdoor game. They can’t do that while NFL teams are playing playoff football.

I imagine the game will take place later in the season, like the Carolina Hurricanes versus Washington Capitals matchup this past season on February 18th. By then, the NFL season will be over and both teams will be packed up for the season.

Maybe they’ll wait an extra week or so, just in case MetLife needs to be used for a post-Super Bowl celebration.

MetLife has long been one of the top venues in the United States that has yet to host an NHL outdoor game. It’s already hosted a Super Bowl, but now it can add “NHL regular season game” to its resume.

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Maybe Aaron Rodgers will even show up like he did at Madison Square Garden. After all, MetLife is his house now too.