Next Winter Classic at Citi Field?

If you feel a chill out near the Mets' home park, it's not the lingering presence of Luis Castillo's bat. According to speculation in SportsBusiness Journal yesterday and today in New York Magazine, Gary Bettman is considering Citi Field, along with the new Meadowlands, as a potential site for next season's Winter Classic.

The potential to host the preeminent event on the NHL schedule has the Interwebs buzzing, particularly with fans of the New York Rangers, who would presumably serve as the hosts of the event. The NHL and its TV partners have always coveted teams with large fan bases and TV markets to maximize revenues. And on that count, the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders simply fall short of the Blueshirts. And you can rule out a local throw down (sadly) since the league will almost certainly want to include another major market team rather than double down on the New York area.

Yankee Stadium had been under consideration for this year's Classic, but the park will instead be occupied by the Pinstripe Bowl, featuring the Big East's No. 3 school and the Big 12's No. 6 team.

The league has also scuttled the idea of using the Big House of Michigan University, which featured the Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans in an outdoor NCAA hockey game earlier this season. But in a land where college football is king, the NHL was apparently concerned they couldn't fill such a huge stadium should Michigan or another area school be playing in a major bowl game. The NHL certainly won't run into that problem in New York, where the Oregon Ducks once tried to establish themselves as NYC's premier team.

The Commish promised D.C. a Winter Classic in the next several years, but it seems unlikely that Washington would get to play in consecutive Classics. With Canadian teams already taking part in the Heritage Classic, New York certainly feels like the best bet to next host the event, though Bettman has remained coy on naming any locations under current consideration.