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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Rangers, Devils, Isles to play in Bronx

By Katie Strang

It's not the Winter Classic, but New York hockey fans appear to be in for a treat next season, nonetheless.

The NHL is planning to offer two hockey games at Yankee Stadium leading up to Super Bowl week next year -- one between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 26 and another between the Rangers and New York Islanders on Jan. 29, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.

Super Bowl XLVIII will be held Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The contract for the hockey games at Yankee Stadium has yet to be finalized, the source said, though it is expected to be completed soon.

The Rangers will be the visiting team for both games.

The two games are part of a larger effort to bring more outdoor games to the fans next season.

According to ESPN.com's Scott Burnside, the roster of event begins with the rescheduled Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Jan. 1, 2014, and continues with games in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Vancouver.

Last week, the NHL officially announced the 2014 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will be held at Michigan Stadium. The event had to be postponed for a season because of the lockout.

As ESPN.com's Craig Custance reported earlier this month, NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins has indicated the league was looking at putting on multiple outdoor games, in addition to the annual Winter Classic.

There are some concerns about diluting what has become the league's signature event. It will also be a challenge to meet the standards and expectations set in previous years, especially with the undertaking of multiple outdoor games.

"We set the bar pretty high on all these. If you're going into a market that's had [a Winter Classic], the bar is high," Collins told Custance. "If you're going into a market that hasn't had it ... they've seen it, they've heard about it and they want to experience. The bar is possibly even higher for them."