Photo of the main entrance at Citi Field. Home of the New York Mets.

Image Credit: Mith Huang (CC BY 2.0)

The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is a New Year’s Day hockey game that pays tribute to old time hockey when two teams meet outdoors. The event is the most popular event in the National Hockey League aside from the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will be celebrating it’s ten year anniversary in 2018 when the New York Rangers host the Buffalo Sabres at Citi Field. Citi Field is located in Flushing Queens, New York and is home to Major League Baseball’s New York Mets. Citi Field will be the sixth Major League ballpark to host an NHL Winter Classic game.

The 2018 NHL Winter Classic will be the second for both the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres and will be the NHL’s first intrastate Winter Classic matchup. The Buffalo Sabres played in the inaugural NHL Winter Classic game in 2008 when they hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills. The New York Rangers faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012 at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rangers also hosted both the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium in 2014 for the NHL Stadium Series. Television ratings for the NHL Stadium Series have so far, been nowhere near as impressive as the ratings for the NHL Winter Classic games.


Before 2008, the 2003 Heritage Classic was the first regular season game held outdoors in the history of the National Hockey League. The game was played at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens. The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is a proven winner that is here to stay. Fans love it; proven by it’s high television ratings and attendance records. The 2014 Winter Classic set the NHL’s single game attendance record with a crowd of more than 105,000 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. However, Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League should reconsider having so many outdoor games each season so as to not exhaust the options for future Winter Classics. Adding the Heritage Classic and Centennial Classic in addition to the Stadium Series in 2016 was a little too much.


From This Seat is still hoping for a future Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens at the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays (with the roof open). It’s highly unlikely that the National Hockey League will venture into the southern markets like Phoenix and Nashville for a Winter Classic game. For an outdoor game in January, the weather would need to be cold and the southern market teams just aren’t as popular as the cold weather cities where all of the Original Six hockey teams reside.


Past NHL Winter Classic Games

2008: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres - Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, New York.

2009: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings - Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois.

2010: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins - Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts.

2011: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins - Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2012: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers - Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

2014: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings - Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

2015: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals - Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.

2016: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins - Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts.

2017: Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues - Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri.




Related Articles