The 2018 NHL Winter Classic, being held at the New York Mets’ Citi Field, will celebrate 10 years of “back to the pond” hockey fun. Fans can ring in the new year watching the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres battle it out the way hockey was meant to be — outside!
Both teams have made an appearance in the NHL Winter Classic before. The Sabres hosted the very first NHL Winter Classic in 2008 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens edged them out 2-1 in a shootout. The Rangers visited the Philadelphia Flyers for the 2012 Winter Classic, and grabbed a 3-2 victory over the home team.
These intrastate rivals always promise a memorable matchup. They’ve met 177 times in the regular season since the 1970-71 season and twice in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Sabres have bested the Rangers in both sets of their best-of-seven series matchups in the playoff rounds, most recently in the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
This year’s Winter Classic game will be the sixth one held on a baseball field. Other baseball stadiums that have hosted the game include Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Boston’s Fenway Park. Other Winter Classic games have been held on football fields, including the sixth Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium. Ticket sales there fell just short of the Guinness World Record for a hockey game of 104,173, which was set at “The Big Chill at the Big House,” also held at the same stadium.
In addition to all the fun of watching the game itself, fans and newcomers to the sport can learn all about the journey both teams take to get to the 2018 Bridgestone Winter Classic. This critically acclaimed series is in its sixth season and documents the teams in the months leading up to the game. The four-week season of the “Road to the NHL Winter Classic” is broadcast on NBCSN, but this year marks the first time the NHL will also broadcast the docuseries on social media platforms. Episodes can be viewed on YouTube.com/NHL and also Facebook.com/BestoftheNHL.
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