Red Bull Arena has proven to be a fine MLS venue, but could one of its marquee events in the future be an NHL outdoor game?
There are a few factors that might allow the home of the New York Red Bulls to host an NHL game. For starters, its location in Harrison, NJ puts it close proximity to an NHL team–the New Jersey Devils are based out of Newark–and its proximity to New York City may appeal to the NHL. In looking at recent, regular season NHL outdoor contests, the bulk of them have been played at MLB ballparks and NFL stadiums, many of which are larger than Red Bull Arena.
Apparently, the possibility of Red Bull Arena hosting an NHL game has already been discussed between the Devils and Red Bulls. That is according to a recent comment Red Bulls general manager Marc de Grandpre made to CBS New York:
Red Bull Arena is literally a Sacha Kljestan corner kick away from the Prudential Center in Newark (or a Kyle Palmieri slapshot back the other way), so there is the possibility for the Red Bulls and Devils to work together on some projects, specifically a hockey game played on a rink constructed over the pitch.
“(Devils and Prudential Center president) Hugh Weber and I have discussed potential synergies between our two teams,” de Grandpre said. “If it mutually made sense for both parties, it would be something we’d be open to explore.”
The most recent MLS stadium to have hosted an NHL outdoor game was the New England Revolution’s Gillette Stadium, which featured the Winter Classic back in January. Gillette Stadium, unlike Red Bull Arena, is not soccer-specific, as it primary serves as the home of the NFL’s New England Patriots.
Perhaps the best model for Red Bull Arena will be in use next January. Toronto FC’s BMO Field is slated to feature the Centennial Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on January 1, 2017.