The New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and New York Islanders will compete in the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, February 17 and 18.
The Devils will face the Flyers on February 17 and the Rangers will face the Islanders the following day.
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MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, will host its first outdoor NHL games.
“We always wanted to play a game at MetLife Stadium,” NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer said Saturday. “It is extremely difficult to imagine the Winter Classic at MetLife Stadium because of the two NFL teams that play there, the Jets and the Giants. We had talks with them from time to time, and we had wanted to hold a match there for a long time.
“There were several versions of what we wanted to do here, but when we started looking at the potential matchups, the games, and the great hockey that’s going on in the New York area right now, we thought this would be something unique and different. And since we always want to come up with new ideas to keep the interest in the Stadium Series and outdoor games going, we thought it would be great to organize a doubleheader. »
Mayer said the Devils-Flyers game will likely be played tonight, but it’s not yet clear what time of day the Rangers and Islanders will face off.
Regardless of the time of the games, Mayer promised the event would have a New Jersey flavor, just like every NHL outdoor game has a local flavor.
« The ‘wow’ factor will come from the fact that we will take a football stadium that will be animated in a unique and creative way, » explained Mayer. This is a massive NFL stadium, and our goal is to liven it up in a way that perhaps hasn’t necessarily been done before. We are going to be very creative. We are going to highlight the region. As with all of our outdoor games, our goal will be to let everyone know the game is being played in New Jersey, even if the fan is listening in from the New York, Iowa, California area. or overseas.
“So we are going to be creative. We’ll be evaluating everything New Jersey and Greater New York have to offer, as we’ll have four teams in action. Our goal is to bring the stadium to life, and we’re hopeful that when fans see it for the first time, they’ll say ‘wow’. »
Mayer added there will be plenty of off-ice events to make the two days even more special for fans.
« One of the things we’ve done, whether it’s in Nashville or Dallas or last year in Carolina, is to put together an interactive event so that something happens that immerses us in the place. where we are in every downtime, » Mayer said. Last year in Carolina, there was always something going on at different points in the game. We love the fact that as soon as a fan sets foot in the stadium, they have an experience they will never forget, a defining moment. Then there’s also how we activate the stadium, whether through music, entertainment or something related to the teams in action, such as the presentation of former players or historic achievements. It’s something we used to do in one game and will now do for two games.
“When the Devils play the Flyers, we’re going to focus on those two organizations and then move on to the other two the next day. We still have to decide if we’re going to change the look of the pitch between the two games, because that’s something we could potentially do. »
The Devils and Islanders will each be in a second outdoor meeting. The Rangers defeated the Devils 7-3 and the Islanders 2-1 in the 2014 Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium in New York.
The Rangers are going a perfect 4-0-0 in open games. They defeated the Flyers 3-2 in the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and the Buffalo Sabers 3-2 in overtime in the 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York.
The Flyers are 1-3-1 in away games. They lost 2-1 in overtime to the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, 4-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2017 Stadium Series at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, and 7-3 to Boston at the 2021 NHL Away Games at Lake Tahoe at Stateline, Nevada. The Flyers defeated the Penguins 4-3 in overtime in the 2019 Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
The 2024 Stadium Series games will be the third and fourth outdoors next season. The Calgary Flames will face the Edmonton Oilers in the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on October 29, and the Vegas Golden Knights will take on the Seattle Kraken at the of the 2024 NHL Discover Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on January 1.
Dean Matsuzaki, the NHL’s vice president of event content, said the league is still uncertain about MetLife Stadium’s capacity for games. For NFL games, the capacity is 82,500 people.
“We are still working on figuring that out. We anticipate it will be over 75,000 people for each game, Matsuzaki said. There will be renovations at MetLife Stadium in the upcoming offseason. They have preparations to make for the Soccer World Cup which will affect pitchside seating on one side of the stadium. We are working closely with them and the construction company to understand what impact it will have on our games. So we’re going to lose a few seats for that reason. »
Mayer wants the NHL to continue its streak of sold-out outdoor games.
« As always, the aim is to extend our exceptional streak of 37 sold-out games, and we are optimistic that these two clashes will allow us to fill the stadium on two days in a row, » he concluded.
*With input from NHL.com reporter Tom Gulitti.