Just minutes after the NHL moved Saturday’s Winter Classic back eight hours due to weather issues in Pittsburgh, commissioner Gary Bettman announced a change to the 2012 showdown, whose host city has yet to be announced.
“We were preparing to host the Winter Classic in Phoenix next year,” said Bettman. “But since we can’t seem to get a break with the weather in Pittsburgh, we can’t assume temperatures in Arizona will cooperate.”
Bettman said that despite Phoenix’s average daytime temperature of 67 in January, the league felt an outdoor game there could help boost local interest in the sport.
“It’s no secret hockey in the desert isn’t particularly popular right now,” said Bettman of the team his league owns. “We assumed playing an outdoor game there would be quite a scene. Guess it’s back to the drawing board.”