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Maple Leafs could host Canadiens in Heritage Classic

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Leafs Centennial wish list isn't going as planned, but lots of events to celebrate in the upcoming year

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Arenas were founded on November 22nd, 1917, as the "No Homers" of professional hockey - The NHL was created by National Hockey Association owners to get away from the NHA Toronto owner - and the franchise will celebrate it's 100th birthday on November 22nd, 2017.

Leading up to that centennial date the Maple Leafs have been hoping to hold many events, the All-Star game, the draft, a Winter Classic. However, the NHL is also celebrating it's centennial, and 5 teams are celebrating their 50th anniversaries - St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, and the Dallas Stars - so the Maple Leafs need to learn to share.

The Kings have been awarded the All-Star game for 2017, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are rumoured to be hosting a Stadium Series game against each other in both cities, and today in the Toronto Star, Kevin McGran reports that the St. Louis Blues will host the Winter Classic in Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. They will play the Blackhawks because, of course they will.

The Maple Leafs have crossed two events off their wish list, but it seems they will get an outdoor game. McGran says they will host the Montreal Canadiens at BMO Field as the Heritage Classic, the outdoor game played only by Canadian teams, because NBC doesn't want them in the Winter classic anymore.

MLSE has been renovating BMO Field extensively, adding almost 10,000 seats to brig capacity up to 30,991, and adding some cover for the seats, due to the impending move of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, who are hosting the 2016 Grey Cup in the stadium. This is a much preferable option as a site, instead of a baseball stadium, due to the bleachers being in the proper shape for hockey. This will be a much more intimate outdoor game as the seats are extremely close to the field, and will be a treat to anyone who is lucky enough to attend.

The only item that hasn't been announced yet for 2017 is the site of the Draft. The Leafs would love to also hold this event, but the NHL may want to spread the love, as the Air Canada Centre is also hosting the NHL's World Cup of Hockey this fall, and the preliminary round of the 2017 World Junior Championships. The Stars are the only '67 expansion team that hasn't been talked about yet in the anniversary. How Dallas is handled will be interesting, as they are two '67 teams - The California Golden Seals and the Minnesota North Stars franchises merged (after California moved to Cleveland) and eventually moved to Dallas.

The Leafs will have one hell of a centennial, no matter what they host. Legends row expands, lots of events at the ACC, a new logo, new jerseys, so missing out on the "Winter Classic" label isn't a huge deal, it's the same game but just for Canadians.