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NHL begins build-up to NHL Winter Classic 2009

Monday, 12.08.2008 / 12:44 PM / Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009

NHL.com

NEW YORK – With less than four weeks until NHL Winter Classic™ 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the National Hockey League has begun its build-up to the New Year's Day event, culminating with the much-anticipated outdoor match-up between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT). 

Following the extremely successful event in Buffalo on New Year's Day 2008, the NHL Winter Classic has fast become a time for hockey fans across North America to come together with the NHL to celebrate the game of hockey.  Leading up to the game, the League will be activating fans in every NHL market and beyond with special events, exclusive editorial and video features at NHL.com, programming on NHL Network, NHL Radio, the NHL Home Ice channel on SIRIUS XM Radio, and much more, making the NHL Winter Classic 2009 an interactive experience for fans all across North America.     

"The NHL Winter Classic is where tradition meets innovation, an original and authentic big-scale event that we share with NHL fans throughout North America," said John Collins, COO of the NHL.    "New Year's Day is now hockey's day and the NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field gives everyone a special chance to share in the excitement of playing hockey in its original environment – the outdoors – at such an historic venue."

XM Presents "The Road to the NHL Winter Classic"

This week in Mobile, Ala., work and testing will be completed on the world's largest mobile rink refrigeration unit, a custom-built 53-foot truck that houses the specialized equipment that will be used to make the ice rink at Wrigley Field.  The truck will depart Mobile on Dec. 8 and head for Atlanta, marking the first stop on "The Road to the NHL Winter Classic," a 1,200-mile journey to Chicago, presented by XM Radio. 

The co-sponsored truck will make an appearance at the Dec. 10 game between the New York Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers, where it will be toured by media and seen by thousands of fans before making its way north to Chicago.  The truck tour will be chronicled by NHL.com.

If You Build It

The full rink build at Wrigley Field will begin in mid-December and continue daily until Wrigley Field is transformed into a world-class ice hockey rink for the NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.    Fans can follow the entire process through interactive features and extensive coverage on NHL.com, NHL Radio, the NHL network and NHL Home Ice on SIRIUS XM Radio.  

The Most Prolific Original Six Matchup

The Original Six match-up between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings is the most contested rivalry in all of hockey.  In a prelude to NHL Winter Classic 2009, the teams authored another chapter for the history books on Saturday, Dec. 6.  After warming up in official NHL Winter Classic headwear, the Red Wings and Blackhawks played a hard-fought game, with Detroit prevailing, 5-4, after a shootout.  The teams meet again on Dec. 30 in Detroit before coming together at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1.  The NHL Winter Classic will mark the 701st regular-season meeting between these two storied franchises, the most in NHL history. 

Tuning Into The NHL Winter Classic

There are multiple ways for fans throughout North America to tune-in on New Year's Day.  NBC will provide live broadcast coverage of the game in the U.S. at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT).  In Canada, CBC and RDS will televise the event live. NHL Network and NHL.com will provide extensive coverage and NHL Radio will provide coverage for radio stations across North America.  SIRIUS XM Radio will broadcast the game live nationwide on NHL Home Ice (available on XM channel 204 on SIRIUS channel 208 as part of the "Best of XM" programming package).  NHL Winter Classic 2009 will be the second regular-season outdoor NHL game played in the U.S. and the third regular-season outdoor game in League history.   

The NHL, in collaboration with NBC, CBC and RDS, has already released a tune-in marketing campaign to promote the upcoming NHL Winter Classic 2009 game on New Year's Day at Wrigley Field.  The TV spot, backed by the singing of the late, legendary baseball broadcaster Harry Caray and his iconic version of "Take Me Out To the Ball Game," debuted Nov. 30 in the U.S. on the "NBC Sunday Night Football Game" between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. NBC's Bob Costas narrates the U.S. version.