After a one-year hiatus, the Heritage Classic will return.
The NHL kicked off its pre-season media tour with a bang on Thursday morning, announcing that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will brave the elements in the coming months and face off in the 2022 Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic on March 13th, 2022.
The game, which will be held at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario, marks the first time that an American team will take part in a Heritage Classic since the event’s inception back in 2003.
Adding to the historical significance of Thursday’s announcement is that the Maple Leafs had been the lone Canadian team to not participate in a Heritage Classic, albeit with the team playing outdoors on multiple prior occasions in the Winter Classic, Centennial Classic, and Stadium Series.
Fans in Buffalo are accustomed to outdoor games of their own, as well, with the Sabres having hosted the first-ever Winter Classic back in 2009 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the then-named Ralph Wilson Stadium, losing 2-1 in a shootout.
In pitting the Sabres and Maple Leafs against one another in a marquee event, the NHL is clearly trying to re-ignite a once-heated rivalry between the two teams that has dimmed in recent years.
On national television, outdoors, and in front of a stadium full of people, there’s no better platform than this.