The National Hockey League will be playing its first outdoor game at a United States Service Academy on March 3, 2018, when the Washington Capitals host the Toronto Maple Leafs, at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland according to a report from the Associated Press on Saturday.
While the league has not officially announced the details yet, the AP reported that two sources close to the situation, told them that the Capitals and Maple Leafs will faceoff at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium next season. The 34,000-seat venue, hosts Navy football games as well as the Military Bowl.
While the event will be the first regular season game to be played at a US Military Academy, chances are it won’t be the last. The NHL has discussed hosting games at the United States Military Academy, in West Point, New York and the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
This past season, the Florida Panthers hosted the New Jersey Devils in an indoor, preseason matchup. Panthers owner Vinnie Viola and Vegas Golden Knights owner, Bill Foley both have ties to the Army.
The game in Annapolis, will be the third outdoor game for the Capitals. In 2011, they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in 2015, the topped the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 at Nationals Park, in Washington, DC.
The Maple Leafs also will be making their third appearance outdoors. In 2014, they travelled to the University of Michigan, in the Winter Classic as they defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. This past season, they hosted the Red Wings at BMO Field in the Centennial Classic, and won 3-2.
The game at the Naval Academy, will be the third outdoor game scheduled for the 2017-2018 season.
The Ottawa Senators will host the Montreal Canadiens at TD Place, in Ottawa, Ontario, on December 16, 2017. The game will be almost 100 years to the date of the first ever matchup between the two clubs.
In the other outdoor battle, the Buffalo Sabres will host the New York Rangers at Citi Field, in Flushing Meadows, New York, in the Winter Classic on January 1, 2018. The Sabres have the honors of hosting the game, due the Rangers lease with the city, which requires them to play all their home games at Madison Square Garden.
The NHL Network revealed that the league would make the official announcement on Memorial Day, Monday May 29, when Commissioner Gary Bettman gives his state of the league address prior to game one of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.