3 Places Better Than Washington For The 2015 Winter Classic

On Saturday morning, the Washington Capitals announced they will play in their second NHL Winter Classic, which left every hockey fan not wearing a Caps #8 jersey asking… “Why Washington?”

Ovechkin's Capitals defeated Crosby's Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (Tom Turk/THW)

Ovechkin’s Capitals defeated Crosby’s Penguins 3-1 in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Tom Turk/THW)

Why Somewhere Besides Washington Should Be Hosting The Winter Classic

For Starter’s the Capitals – while not bottom dwellers – are a team that hasn’t made it out of the 2nd round of the playoffs since 1998. Not exactly up to snuff with the other teams that have played in two Winter Classic’s (Penguins, Flyers, and soon to be Red Wings).

The Capitals also lack some of the heated and classic rivalries that fans want to see in the Winter Classic. Their rivalry with the Sidney Crosby and the Penguins is the only one that appears big, and that’s already been done (Heaven forbid they play the Penguins again).

Sure Washington D.C. has one of the leagues most dynamic and marketable players in Alex Ovechkin, and granted an outdoor game in America’s Capital on the 1st of the new year seems pretty sweet, but aren’t there a few teams and cities more deserving of a Winter Classic? There are at least three that come to mind.

Criteria: Team has never hosted a Winter Classic. Team has an exciting rival to host. Location has a venue capable of supporting an outdoor game. Venue is far enough North to host an outdoor game. Host city is in the United States (For best marketing).

  • MetLife Stadium
    Host: New Jersey Devils
    Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey
    Sport: Football
    Tenants: New York Giants & New York Jets
    Capacity: 82,566
    Why: Despite the recent departures of of Kovalchuk and Parise, the Devils are still a team with a competitive roster. They may have missed the playoffs during last years shortened season, but they also made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012, and are currently a team reloaded. New Jersey is also a storied franchise with the type of competitive reputation deserving of a Winter Classic. A New Years Day rivalry match-up against a team like the New York Rangers would be a treat for all hockey fans.
  • Yankee Stadium
    Host: New York Rangers
    Location: South Bronx, New York City, New York
    Sport: Baseball
    Tenants: New York Yankees
    Capacity: 50,291
    Why: What’s not to love about an outdoor hockey game in the middle of the Big Apple? The event would be a marketing/PR dream for the NHL. The Rangers may have already played in one Winter Classic, but their status as a competitive original six team also makes them very deserving of playing in another at home in New York City. A match-up against any one of the other five original six teams, or against a rival like the Devils, or even the Islanders, would certainly put the classic in Winter Classic. Currently, their is speculation that the Rangers could be the Capitals opponents in Washington in 2015.
  • Target Field
    Host: Minnesota Wild
    Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Sport: Baseball
    Tenants: Minnesota Twins & Minnesota Golden Gophers Baseball
    Capacity: 39,02
    Why: The question shouldn’t be why Minnesota deserves a Winter Classic, but why hasn’t there been a Winter Classic in the state of hockey already? For an event that’s been held exclusivley in the United States – for obvious marketing reasons – it’s blasphemy that the Minnesota Wild have yet to see a Winter Classic. With the additions of Parise, Suter, and Pominville, the Wild have become a very competitive team, and being located in America’s largest hotbed for hockey makes them perhaps the most deserving of a Winter Classic in 2015. A match-up against the Boston Bruins would be an interesting Winter Classic, reminiscent of old college hockey rivalries between the two areas of the country.

For better or worse, the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic in D.C., with the venue still to be decided upon. In their first Winter Classic the Capitals traveled to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they defeated the hosting Penguins 3-1. Their 2015 opponent has yet to be decided.

Here’s to hoping the Capitals, or their opponents, somehow acquire Ilya Bryzgalov before the 2014-15 season and before HBO’s 24/7 starts.

Comment below if there’s another team or location that should’ve made the list but didn’t.

13 Comments

  1. TCF Bank Stadium is hosting the Hockey City Classic this year, featuring the Minnesota Golden Gophers Men’s and Women’s teams. Perhaps a precursor to a future Winter Classic? Soldier field hosted the first HCC in February and is hosting one of the Stadium Series games this year. Target Field would also be a decent place to hold the game – I’d go to either no matter how cold it is in Minnesota on Jan 1. Brrrr.

  2. Why in the world is this guy allowed to write articles? Waste of space… Please do some research before you write an article that is a joke.
    1)NHL will never be able to hold a game at MetLife on New Years day.
    2)The Rangers are playing an outdoor game this year… at yankee stadium…. Zzzzzzzzzzz College football has rights to the stadium on new years day.
    3)Really the Wild? even if they were to give the Wild the game, it would be a gopher stadium. Not that anyone in the right mind would ever put a winter classic in Minn.

    PS The NHL can set up a rink anywhere in the united states… before they bought the technology they had a proof of concept and set it up in Arizona in the summer, without any problems. The only problem the outdoor rinks have is humidity and rain.

  3. Learnsumhockey says:

    Terrible article. Author knows nothing about the logistics of hosting an outdoor classic game.

    Don’t you think NYC would have already hosted multiple Winter Classic games on New Years day if the stadiums were available?

    Met Life stadium can never host a winter classic because it is home to two NFL teams which means there is never an available window in week 15 or 16 of the NFL season to host the Winter Classic.

    Yankee stadium is also unavailable on New years day due to a College Football Bowl game that is played there.

    The NHL did figure out a way to get NYC hosting outdoor games by coming up with the Stadium Series games at Yankee stadium which are being staged after New Years because that’s their only option.

    Minnesota is the only legitimate location that’s available on New Years Day. But even that suggestion is bad. Target field is not the place to play the game. It should be played at the new Minnesota Gophers football stadium. Football stadiums offer much better sight lines than baseball stadiums.

  4. Rangers at Yankee Stadium is a brilliant idea! In fact, it’s such a good idea that they’re doing it twice this January, against the Devils and Islanders, so that takes care of two-thirds of your list! But, you know, real good article except for that…

  5. i’m sic’ing erskine on you for thinking the word vomit in your head is fit for public consumption. have at you sir

  6. No, DC isn’t a traditional “Hockey town”, but few cities are. What DC is (particularly the VA and MD suburbs), is a GROWING hockey town. Kettler was sold out for the Team USA orientation; they didn’t even skate. Practices are sold out. Caps convention sold out. Charity events always sold out. Every game, obviously sold out. Youth leagues have more young players than ever before. The league would be wise to bring the Winter Classic to the Nation’s Capital. It’s another market that could use the buzz and build on the momentum it has right now.

    This elitist view so many hockey writers have towards certain teams is painfully old and ignorant. Hockey fandom isn’t reserved for the original 6 cities or the teams who have won the Cup. Why are other cities so special? Because they had a team first? Because their team has had more success in the playoffs? The spread of hockey fandom should be embraced, not ridiculed as something less-than just because it’s newer to an area.

    I would agree that the locations the writer listed would be excellent for the Winter Classic and I hope they follow soon after the WC in DC. I don’t, however, see any reason to claim they are better or more deserving, simply because the writer doesn’t know much about the Capitals.

  7. Except for that time when they went to the SCF. Research much?

  8. Oh, this is beyond idiotic.

  9. I don’t disagree with NY or Minnesota by any means. But NJ? Whatever. Oh yeah, the Stanley Cup Finals I think qualifies as advancing past the 2nd round.

  10. Welcome to The Hockey Writers, where we never let facts get in the way of a pleasing, self-serving tale. Seriously – I was as inept at my job as these writers are of theirs, I’d be dismissed.

  11. Learn to fact check guy

  12. “which left every hockey fan not wearing a Caps #8 jersey asking… “Why Washington?”

    Looks at signed Carlson jersey and shakes head in disappointment at the ignorance of the author.

  13. Yeah so… The Capitols made the Cup finals in ’98, just thought I’d point that one out…

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