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NHL to announce Sabres to host Penguins in outdoor game Jan. 1

The league is set to announce next week that the Sabres will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in an outdoor game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Jan. 1, a person familiar with the event told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NHL has not made the announcement official.

The NHL issued a release Thursday saying it will "make a major announcement concerning a special event" during a news conference at the stadium on Monday.

Several media outlets cited unidentified sources in reporting the planned outdoor game earlier this month.

It will be the league's second outdoor game after the Canadiens beat the Oilers 4-3 in front of 57,167 fans at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 22, 2003.

Ralph Wilson Stadium is home to the NFL's Buffalo Bills and has a capacity of 73,967 seats for football games.

The game will cap a home-and-home series between the two Eastern Conference rivals after Buffalo plays at Pittsburgh on Dec. 29.

Buffalo is considered an ideal location to host the game, and not only because of its reputation for cold, bitter winters. The Sabres' attendance has risen dramatically: last season's President's Trophy-winning team sold out all of its 41 regular-season games.

Buffalo also has the potential to draw many fans from the region given that the city is just across the border from Ontario and 90 minutes from Toronto. It's also an easy drive for Penguins fans, with Pittsburgh only a 3½ drive south of Buffalo.

Sabres players, reporting for the start of training camp Thursday, were informed by the team not to comment about the nature of the NHL announcement.

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