When the clock strikes midnight on December 31 later this year, Capitals players will have to temper their New Year’s Eve celebrations in preparation for a big game the next day. The NHL announced today that the Caps were chosen to host the annual Winter Classic in 2015 on New Year’s Day.
TSN’s Bob Mckenzie first broke the story, revealing that the league is bringing the Western Conference runner-up Chicago Blackhawks to the Nation’s Capital next year for the big game.
This decision is far from a surprise. Both fan bases are consistently atop the league’s attendance standings year in and year out, and Blackhawks fans travel very well. This is a fan base that is part of the Original Six, and the NHL believes their East Coast supporters will be drawn to Washington for the event.
Moreover, both teams have star power. Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were two of the best in this year’s playoffs, and Alex Ovechkin (while the past two seasons were disappointing ) is always in the discussion for the league’s most dynamic offensive player.
The league has not yet announced where the event will take place, but my best guess says it will be at Nationals Park. The stadium seats approximately 42 large, and is the most modern park of the stadiums in the area. FedEx Field is too far away from the actual host city; Camden Yards or M&T Bank Stadium would make it a Baltimore event, also too far from DC. Not to mention, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner (son of Ted Lerner, majority owner) also owns a minority stake in Ted Leonsis’ Monumental Sports, so there is an obvious professional and business connection between the two.
This is exciting news for the Capitals, who may now get to reappear on HBO’s 24/7 series leading up to the event. Not a bad word to say about this announcement, it is a great business opportunity for the Capitals and a long overdue acknowledgment of how supportive Capitals fans are. Not to mention how awesome the Capitals last Winter Classic jerseys were…..
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