Buffalo’s Tim Connolly (left) and Pittsburgh Tim Connolly participated in the first Winter Classic in 2008. ©2021, Janet Schultz

Sabres to play Maple Leafs in Heritage Classic outdoor game in March

The Buffalo Sabres are heading outdoors this season.

The NHL today announced they’ll be playing in a Heritage Classic game March 13, 2022 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont. Word of the Sabres’ participation in the outdoor contest spread late last month.

Despite playing 63 miles from KeyBank Center, the Sabres will be considered the “home” team for the 3 p.m. game, which will be broadcast nationally on TNT. They were scheduled to host Toronto that afternoon.

Tim Hortons Field, which opened in 2014, seats nearly 24,000 for its primary tenant, the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The capacity can be expanded for larger events.

“It’s an honor to play in the Heritage Classic game,” Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said in a statement. “It will be an incredible atmosphere and we are thrilled to be able to play the Maple Leafs in this special event. Many of us fell in love with hockey while playing on the pond or in backyards, so this will give us a chance to get back to our roots while celebrating the game of hockey.”

The Sabres also gave up a date in Buffalo and were the home team for the 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field in Flushing, a game they lost 3-2 to the New York Rangers in overtime.

The Sabres also hosted the first Winter Classic in 2008 as snow fell at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. They dropped a 2-1 shootout to the Pittsburgh Penguins, with superstar Sidney Crosby scoring the winner against goalie Ryan Miller.

The first five Heritage Classics featured all-Canadian matchups.

Including the Heritage Classic, the Sabres have 10 nationally televised games in 2021-22 season, the first season of the NHL’s new television contract.

Two will air on TNT and eight be available exclusively on ESPN/Hulu.

The complete schedule released today:

– Oct: 22 vs. Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

– Nov. 2 at San Jose Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

– Nov. 12 vs. Edmonton Oilers, 7 p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

– Dec. 7 vs. Anaheim Ducks, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

– Feb. 1 vs. Vegas Golden Knights, 10, p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

– March 4 vs. Minnesota Wild, 7 p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

– March 13 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (TNT)

– March 23 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (TNT)

– April 5 vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

– April 7 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN/Hulu)

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