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Minnesota Wild WILL host outdoor game next season – at TCF Bank Stadium

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The Minnesota Wild will face the Chicago Blackhawks next year at TCF Bank Stadium in one of three outdoor games announced by the NHL.

It was widely expected that Minnesota would be one of the locations for the 2016 Coors Light Stadium Series next season, but signs pointed to Target Field being the venue.

But the NHL confirmed Saturday that it will be TCF Bank, home of the Gophers and (temporarily) the Minnesota Vikings, that will host the match on Sunday, February 21, which will mark a first for the Wild.

The other stadium series match will see the Colorado Avalanche host the Detroit Redwings on February 27, while the Boston Bruins will host the Montreal Canadiens in the Bridegstone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

The Wild had hoped to play host to the Winter Classic instead, but ESPN reported earlier this week that it was likely they would have to make do with a stadium series match-up.

"We’re thrilled that the NHL has awarded a 2016 Coors Light Stadium Series outdoor game to Minnesota," Wild owner Craig Leipold said on the team's website.

"We’re confident that we’ll be awarded a Winter Classic someday soon. But we’ll enjoy this one too – the first-ever outdoor professional game in the state.

"And when the Minnesota Wild hit the ice for our Stadium Series game next season, we’ll all be warmed by a great deal of pride watching our boys out there, no matter the weather."

The Star Tribune reports Leipold wants to make the outdoor game a "real iconic week-long event", while star player Zach Parise says it's high-time Minnesota gets an outdoor game after a decade of being overlookedl

"The players that I know that have played in one say the whole event is a great experience, not just the game itself," he told the Star Tribune. "Having one here is a little bit overdue, I think. Outdoor hockey is part of the culture in Minnesota."

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