The Wild and NHL are talking deal with both the Twins and the University of Minnesota and TCF Bank Stadium officials over the series. TCF Bank Stadium hosted outdoor hockey last winter to great success with high-school and college hockey. But Target Field features lots more premium spots for outdoor hockey, ranging from the entire club level to enclosed heated bars to outdoor plazas with firepits and other heating elements. (Maybe the Twins could install those blanket warmers from the original ballpark plan!) From the Star Tribune:
The pluses? TCF Bank Stadium could hold more fans but Target Field has a lot more premium seating. One obstacle with Target Field is there are added costs the NHL would have to incur like replacing the sod and winterizing the stadium. The figures were being tossed around today between the league and Target Field.
As has been reported many times, Craig Leipold’s ultimate goal is to host the actual Winter Classic. As has been reported many times, the NHL has thus far told the Wild owner that he needs to be patient. Leipold has been so adamant about his desire to host, he declined the chance for the Wild to be the visitor against Washington.
A few years ago, Leipold also declined the stadium series games because he wanted the main event. However, Leipold has since changed his mind and informed Commissioner Gary Bettman awhile ago that he would be willing to host a stadium series game as long as it helps his eventual objective – to host a Winter Classic.
A winter stadium series would include a Wild/Blackhawks game, potentially an AHL Iowa Wild game, and plenty of high-school and college matches.
We could see a decision on the venue in coming days. UPDATE: The NHL went with three football stadiums, including TCF Bank Stadium, for outdoor hockey next season.