Since New Year’s Day 2008, the NHL has hosted an exciting outdoor hockey game between two franchises, usually taking place in a football or baseball stadium. Back in 2008, the annual outdoor game began with a matchup between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins. The game took place in Orchard Park, New York’s Ralph Wilson Stadium, now New Era Field where the NFL’s Buffalo Bills play their home games. Sporting a then record crowd of 71,217, the ’08 Winter Classic was an exciting affair that ended in shootout fashion, 2-1 in favor of the Penguins. The high attendance and ratings led to a second game in 2009 and the success of that led to an annual game. Most recently, New Year’s Day 2017 featured a Central Division rivalry game between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. A blustery day in the Midwest saw the Blues dominate the Blackhawks, winning the game 4-1, with Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scoring twice.
On January 1, 2018, the NHL Winter Classic returns to New York, this time in Queens at Citi Field, home of the MLB’s New York Mets. This matchup with see the home team New York Rangers take on in-state opponents, the Buffalo Sabres. This will be the second Winter Classic game for each team and Buffalo will be looking for its first win in the series. Tickets will surely be in high demand for this, regularly one of the most highly attended NHL games of the season.