Twenty years after the inaugural Heritage Classic in 2003, the NHL will be returning to Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton for the 2023 edition of the flagship outdoor event.
This time, the Edmonton Oilers will play host to the Calgary Flames in the first ever outdoor edition of the Battle of Alberta. Just over 57,000 fans attended in 2003, but rest assured that each and ever one of the 60,081 seats at Commonwealth Stadium will be filled for the 2023 game.
While the official date has not yet been confirmed, it is expected that the Heritage Classic will be held sometime in October, and might be the first game between the Alberta rivals in the 2023–24 NHL season.
December 31, 2022 update: The official date for the Heritage Classic is set to be on October 29, 2023. It’ll be broadcast on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.
This will be the third outdoor game for each team, and both the Flames and Oilers have faced the exact same opposition in each of their outdoor games.
Edmonton Oilers Heritage Classic history
The Oilers participated in the 2003 Heritage Classic in which they lost to the Montreal Canadiens 4–3 at home, and faced the Winnipeg Jets in the 2016 Heritage Classic earning a 3–0 win. They’ll head into the Battle of Alberta with a 1–1–0 record in outdoor games.
Calgary Flames Heritage Classic history
The Flames’ first outdoor game was in 2011 when they hosted the Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium, earning a 4–0 victory over the Canadiens. They also faced the Jets in 2019, suffering a 2–1 overtime loss. They’ll enter the 2023 Heritage Classic with a 1–0–1 record in outdoor games.
Commonwealth Stadium is the largest stadium in Canada, a perfect venue for what should be one of, if not the best Heritage Classics in NHL history.
This Heritage Classic will also offer the opportunity for both teams to release a new jersey kit for the special event. In 2011, the Flames wore the iconic red and yellow striped kit that is currently featured in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, ON. In 2019, they unveiled the retro edition of their classic home jerseys, that was so popular it has become the team’s full time road uniform.
The Oilers didn’t mix things up on the jersey front in 2003, but did bring back a relatively new look with their orange kit in 2016. This uniform became the team’s full time home jersey from 2017 to 2022. This season they switched back to the classic blue jerseys at home.
Boyan Demchuk on Twitter posted his thoughts on what the jerseys could look like, and it could be a lot of fun.
There are rumours that the Flames will likely be donning an off-white set while the Oilers will wear a darker kit, so it’s possible the base colour of these jerseys will swap. Either way, it’ll be great to see a new Battle of Alberta on the ice, outdoors, with both teams wearing new uniforms.