Bettman: Outdoor games what fans want

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman brushed off criticism that the league is hurting its product by hosting six outdoor games this season, according to The Globe and Mail.

"For teams and markets that want to host this [event], for fans that want to attend, we can't do enough of them," Bettman said Thursday at Yankee Stadium, where the league was formally announcing two of the games.

"Fans love attending this event, the demand that we're hearing and feeling from our teams and markets and venues wanting to host this game is overwhelming," Bettman added, according to the report. "So if you're actually getting an opportunity to attend this game, you don't think we're doing too many of them."

The Winter Classic will be played at the Big House in Ann Arbour, Mich., between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.

This will be followed by a four-game Stadium Series consisting of two games at Yankee Stadium, one game at Dodger Stadium and another at Soldier Field.

The final outdoor game will be the Heritage Classic between the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks at B.C. Place.

While some are already saying that six games is too many, it remains to be seen if the NHL will attempt more games in the future.

"We're obviously testing ourselves and our hockey operations department to make sure we can put on these six games. We're confident that we can," Bettman said, according to the paper. "But we'll take a deep breath when all six are over and evaluate what made sense, what we can do better and whether or not we can even do more."