Let the hockey holiday countdown begin.
With just four weeks left before the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, officials on Friday began a countdown to the much anticipated outdoor match-up between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals on New Year’s Day.
The established tradition on the New Year’s Day sports calendar is highly touted in the NHL and beyond.
The 2014 event at Michigan Stadium drew 105,491 fans, an all-time record for an NHL game. Not to mention, NBC’s average broadcast audience for the even tied as the largest for an NHL regular season game in the U.S. in nearly four decades.
“The Winter Classic has become a larger than life phenomenal event and having the Blackhawks play the Capitals to start off 2015 we think is a great way to begin the New Year,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
The Blackhawks and Capitals will take the ice for the first time at National Park for team practices and family skates on Dec. 31.
Bettman said the Blackhawks are an increasingly popular NHL team and noted “they’ve got great fans as do the Capitals.”
“The Blackhawks have been in a couple of these games and they’ve been great hosts twice and they know it’s always fun when you take the game outside,” he said.
The event will be broadcast live nationally at noon Central Time on Jan. 1 on NBC in the United States and on CBC and TVA in Canada.