A million different things have happened and changed and been postponed or cancelled in the last year or so, so you’ll be forgiven if it totally slipped your radar that one of the many disruptions in life was for the Penguins and an outdoor game.
Not the biggest deal in the world, but initially the Pens were set to play in the first NHL outside game in North Carolina, against the Hurricanes at the NC State football stadium in February 2021.
That event, of course, never had a chance and was a swift and quick cancellation given that Carolina moved out of the Penguins’ division and the two didn’t play at all in the 2020-21 season.
It’s been whispered that the NHL will make it up to Carolina by giving them the outdoor game next season. And now the Canes have a jersey out there for the occasion:
It hasn’t been mentioned or confirmed that Pittsburgh will stay as the opponent, but it would surely make sense. There are a ton of Pens’ fans (and Pittsburgh fans in general) in the Raleigh area, and spread across North Carolina, so that would be a nice way to sell tickets and help fill up a big old football stadium.
It would be curious to see if the Pens get a new jersey for the occasion as well. Given that Carolina is wearing black, that probably means white for Pittsburgh. They could wear their new alternate reverse retro for the occasion, but usually an outdoor game brings with it a new jersey concept to
blatantly try to make a cash grab to sell a few more shirts err celebrate the special game with a fresh look.
This event will also have a new home on television. TNT/Turner now has the rights to broadcast the January 1st Winter Classic game, which this wouldn’t be. ESPN/Disney now owns the “A” package for NHL TV rights and could well make this event a national spotlight game for their first year back of having hockey on their networks.
With all the details to see become finalized and announced, another outdoor game for the Pens is probably on the low end on the priority list but would be another nice sign of returning to normal to see the league be able to branch back out to their usual big events.