It's going to be a busy year at BMO Field. From now until New Year's Day the stadium will play host to Toronto FC, the Toronto Argonauts, the Canadian women's national team for a friendly in June and the 2016 Grey Cup. Today it was confirmed that the stadium will host an outdoor NHL game as well between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings.
The game will be a rematch of the 2014 Winter Classic, hosted in Michigan at the Big House. It will not, however, be the official 2016 Winter Classic, instead being called the Centennial Classic in reference to the Leaf's 100th NHL season. The game will be hosted on January 1, 2017 when the Winter Classic is usually played.
The Leafs won the 2014 outdoor game against the Wings 3-2 in a shootout. The game would have record breaking attendance as 104,491 people would watch the game. Likely less than half that number of seats will be available for this game, as 30,991 is the current capacity of the stadium. The capacity, however, is expected to be expanded for the outdoor game just as it will be for the Grey Cup.
As part of the Leaf's 100th season MLSE made a hard push to host the Winter Classic, the NHL Draft and the All-Star game, and would not receive any of them. This outdoor game is the only consolation they have received thus far.
The second phase of renovations to BMO Field are set to be completed by the summer. Part of the plans for those renovations included the stadium's ability to host big showcase events like the Grey Cup and the Winter Classic.
While other events like the Grey Cup could possibly disrupt Toronto FC's schedule, this is clearly not the case with an outdoor game. The Centennial Classic will be almost a month away from any other Toronto FC fixture, should they host the 2016 MLS Cup.
Other information on the game is expected to be released in the coming months, according to the National Hockey League.