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Air Force expects turn hosting an outdoor NHL game at Falcon Stadium, but details still being worked out

March 1, 2018 Updated: March 1, 2018 at 7:26 pm
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A small crowd watches the Air Force/Fresno State game during the fourth quarter Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, at Falcon Stadium on the Air Force Academy. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Air Force expects to get its turn to host an NHL game – as Navy is this weekend – but the details haven’t been finalized.

“The academy is in discussions with the NHL,” Air Force associate athletic director for communications Troy Garnhart told The Gazette.

On Memorial Day 2017, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced a plan to bring outdoor NHL games to the three service academies. Navy was first on the list, hosting Saturday’s game between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs at Navy-Marine Memorial Stadium.

Outdoor hockey has become a wildly successful trend for the NHL, with 24 games being held since 2003 that have each drawn at least 33,000 fans. When Coors Field hosted a game between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings, 50,095 spectators showed up.

Air Force isn’t sure when it will get its turn. On Thursday the academy said no date or time has been agreed upon and no contracts have been signed.

“When the NHL announced they were going to play a game at Navy, they also announced it would hopefully begin a series of games at the other academies,” Air Force’s athletic department said in a statement Thursday. “The NHL has put forth no time frame, but it’s their intent to complete the series at some point and we anticipate Air Force will be part of ongoing discussions.”

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