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Winter Classic In Miami? Panthers Want 'Outdoor Game' At Marlins Ballpark

Could there be a Winter Classic in a place where winter doesn't happen? The Florida Panthers hope to make it so, and the new ballpark for the Miami Marlins might be the perfect host.

Think about it: You close the retractable roof, blast the air conditioning and build some ice over the course of a few weeks. You haul in some fake snow, dress the stadium up like any other Winter Classic, and then on game day, pop open the roof and play hockey outdoors, while the fans sit around in shorts and T-shirts in 80-degree temperatures.

Via the Miami Herald:

Could Miami be in line to host an outdoor hockey game as well? Don't laugh. Thanks to the new Marlins ballpark - and its retractable roof - ice making experts say an NHL game could be played 'outdoors' in South Florida. Will it ever come to pass? Well, that's another story.

It is another story indeed. There are still plenty of teams in the running to host future Winter Classic games, and many of them are much better ratings draws than the Panthers. You have to assume Detroit, Washington, Minnesota, Colorado and others will be hosting a Winter Classic long before the Florida Panthers ever get the chance.

But logistically, it could happen. And selling a Winter Classic with a tropical theme would be a dream sell for NBC.

For more on this year's Winter Classic, head over to SB Nation's Rangers blog Blueshirt Banter and Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey. For everything Winter Classic in the build-up to the game, head over to our NHL Winter Classic StoryStream.