Looking Back at the Winter Classic
The Winter Classic is a regular season hockey game that takes place outdoors in an outdoor stadium right after the New Year. It is based off of the success of the 2003 Heritage Classic, which featured the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens.
The Winter Classic is televised on a national stage each year and has been a tremendous success.
So far, through the five years it has been held, it has only featured U.S. teams. But, in the next game in 2013, it will have its first Canadian team.
So, lets look at the five past Winter Classic games.
January 1, 2008 Buffalo
This marked the first game of a hockey tradition. It took place at Ralph Wilson Stadium in New York between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
To date, it was the biggest crowd with 71,217 people attending the outdoor matchup.
The Penguins won the game 2-1 in a shootout.
The success of this game led to a second game that would be held the following year.
January 1, 2009 Chicago
Old rivals, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings took their matchup outside for this regular season game. It took place at the famous Wrigley Field. 40,818 people braced the cold to support their team, as they were many Hawks and Red Wings fans in attendance.
The Red Wings took this game 6-4.
This game was the highest American TV rating for a hockey game in nearly thirty years. The Hawks/Wings game made the Winter Classic an annual event.
January 1, 2010 Boston
Fenway Park played host to the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers on New Years day. The Bruins won the game 2-1 in overtime, becoming the only team in Winter Classic history to win as the home team. 38,112 people attended this Eastern conference matchup.
January 1, 2011 Pittsburgh
The Penguins played in their second game, this time as the home team at Heinz Field. 68,111 people went to watch the Penguins play the Washington Capitals. This also started HBO’s 24/7 series following the two teams as they prepare for the game.
January 2, 2012 Philadelphia
The Flyers hosted the New York Rangers, this time the games were on the second due to conflict with the football schedule.
The Winter Classic has brought hockey back outside, it brings new jerseys for the game and now the HBO series 24/7.
The games are set to continue until 2021.
Next year Detroit and Toronto will play one another in Ann Arbor at Michigan Stadium.