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Maple Leafs to host Red Wings in 'NHL Centennial Classic' outdoor game on New Years Day

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On Sunday January 1, 2017, the Maple Leafs will host the Red Wings at BMO Field.

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The NHL's centennial will be celebrated at BMO Field in Exhibition Place on Sunday January 1, 2017, when the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL's first-ever Centennial Classic. The regular-season game will be part of a year-long Centennial remembrance that will feature a number of special events that celebrate the milestones of soon to be 100-year-old league.

The game will see the Red Wings and Maple Leafs meet again to renew a rivalry under the sky that was begun in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Maple Leafs won that match 3-2 in a shootout, with both teams playing despite the heavy blanket of snow that obscured visibility and coated the ice.

In the press release, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls the outdoor meeting of these two clubs an "ideal launch" for the NHL's 2017 centennial year:

"This meeting of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs offers an ideal launch for a fantastic 2017 -- the year in which the National Hockey League will celebrate its Centennial, Toronto will commemorate 100 years of NHL play and Canada will observe the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Since the Red Wings and Maple Leafs made NHL outdoor history by drawing more than 105,000 people to ‘The Big House’ in 2014, this unique rematch provides a perfect beginning to an historic year for our League, our Clubs and our fans." (Press release)

There is not yet word about whether there will be an alumni game, or a women's game in addition to the event.

Brendan Shanahan describes the venue as "undergoing an impressive two-year long transformation." Located next to the Ricoh Colliseum where the Toronto Marlies play, the venue usually hosts soccer, and will be home to the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League later this year. The renovations, which begun in 2014, had an estimated budget of $120 million. Seating capacity will be raised to 30,000 with provisions for temporary seating to allow up to 40,000 people.