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Blues-Blackhawks rivalry takes center stage at 2017 NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium

by NHL Press Release / Chicago Blackhawks

NEW YORK (Aug. 9, 2016) - Representatives from the National Hockey League, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Cardinals, National Hockey League Players' Association and Bridgestone, as well as St. Louis Government Officials, gathered today at Busch Stadium to detail plans for the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. In March, the NHL announced that the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature the Blues and Blackhawks at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. The event will be televised live on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports at noon CT.

When these Central Division rivals meet, it will mark the first time the Blues will host the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and the first-ever regular-season outdoor game for the Club. St. Louis will become the 23rd NHL franchise to play in an outdoor game. It also will mark the third time the Blackhawks have participated in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® (2009 vs. DET, 2015 at WSH) and the fifth time the Club has participated in a regular-season outdoor game (2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series vs. PIT, 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at MIN).

"With the Blues celebrating their 50th anniversary, the League celebrating its 100th and with Busch Stadium wrapping up its 10th year of service to the St. Louis community, there will be plenty of history to commemorate and lots of excitement to anticipate as the Blues and Blackhawks resume a rivalry that has provided so many fantastic memories," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

Information on an exclusive ticket pre-sale for Blues season-ticket holders was released earlier today. Information on ticket sales for Blackhawks and Cardinals season-ticket holders will be sent to those groups by each team in the coming weeks. This opportunity is for a limited number of tickets to the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. Information regarding ticket availability for the general public will be released at a later date.

Additionally, it was announced today that legendary players from both the Blues and Blackhawks organizations will participate in a special alumni game at Busch Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, two days prior to the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. Fan-favorites will return to the ice to represent these organizations one more time and renew this great NHL rivalry.

Each ticket purchased to the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will be part of a strip that includes a ticket to the alumni game.

"We are honored to host the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Busch Stadium," said Blues Chairman Tom Stillman. "Along with the St. Louis Cardinals, our organization and our great fans are excited to showcase the city of St. Louis and our storied rivalry with the Blackhawks at such an iconic venue."

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization and our loyal fans are very excited to be participating in another marquee event hosted by the National Hockey League," said Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough. "With a strong and healthy rivalry already in place between the Blues and Blackhawks, sports fans across the country will be treated to an exciting game featuring some of the brightest stars in the League. We would also like to thank the St. Louis Cardinals and the City of St. Louis for their hospitality in hosting what has become a great tradition for our sport."

The Blues and Blackhawks have competed in the same division in every season since 1970-71, tied with Bruins and Sabres for the longest active streak in the NHL. The longtime rivals also have met 12 times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, facing off at least once in each of the past five decades, including a nail-biting seven-game series won by St. Louis during the First Round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature a number of the top players in the NHL from both teams. The Blues' roster boasts six players selected to September's World Cup of Hockey 2016; the Blackhawks will have 12 players competing in the best-on-best tournament. Both Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues (4th) and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks (2nd) ranked in the top five of League goal-scorers during the 2015-16 NHL regular season. The Blues' lineup also includes forward Alexander Steen, blueliners Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, and goaltender Jake Allen. Kane, the NHL's reigning scoring champion who captured the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award at the 2016 NHL Awards, will be joined by a number of NHL All-Star teammates, including Jonathan Toews , Duncan Keith , Brent Seabrook , Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford .

"The Blues and Blackhawks have enjoyed a strong rivalry over the years, highlighted by some incredible players," said Joe Reekie, NHLPA Divisional Player Representative. "With the talent on both current rosters, having these two teams face off in the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will make for a special event for both players and Blues fans who have been waiting for this signature event to come to St. Louis."

Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, a slap shot from the iconic Gateway Arch and Mississippi River, the new Busch Stadium is a premier sports, entertainment and event venue. The 46,000-seat stadium opened in 2006 and hosted the 80th MLB All-Star Game in July 2009, as well as MLB World Series games in 2006, 2011 and 2013.

"As the excitement builds for the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Busch Stadium in January, we look forward to showcasing our iconic ballpark as well as the great relationship that the Blues and Cardinals have built over the years," said William O. DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bridgestone, the Official Tire of the NHL and NHLPA, returns as title sponsor for the eighth consecutive event. In less than a decade, the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® has become a major event on the North American sporting calendar. Five of the six most-watched NHL regular-season games in the U.S. since 1975 are Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® games. The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® remains the largest audience ever for an NHL regular-season game in Canadian broadcast history.

"The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® continues to be the NHL's marquee outdoor game each season, and it serves as a great platform to excite fans and educate them about our brand," said Phil Pacsi, Vice President of Sports/Events Marketing and Training at Bridgestone Americas. "We believe the St. Louis Blues and Busch Stadium will play great hosts on Jan. 2, and we're excited to launch the next five years of our sponsorship of this tremendous event."

Also on hand for today's event were St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis Blues All-Rookie defenseman Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues alumnus and Hockey Hall of Fame member Bernie Federko, St. Louis Blues alumnus Bob Plager, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks alumnus Jamal Mayers, and Chicago Blackhawks alumnus and Hockey Hall of Fame member Denis Savard.

NHL Network™ and NHL.com will provide extensive coverage live from the event leading up to and after the game. NHL Social™ will have exclusive coverage on all social platforms, including the use of the hashtag #WinterClassic.

Official fan travel and hospitality packages for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and all NHL signature events will be made available soon by PrimeSport, the Official Fan Travel and Hospitality Package Partner of the NHL. For more information, please visit www.primesport.com/nhl.

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