ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2015, at Nationals Park, the National Hockey League, the Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals announced today. In addition, the Capitals NHL Winter Classic uniforms will be unveiled during a special event at Nationals Park on Sept. 23 at 12 p.m.
“The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® has made New Year’s Day a highlight of the season for NHL fans everywhere,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Nationals Park provides an ideal setting for all the excitement, entertainment and fun as the Blackhawks and Capitals bring our outdoor tradition to historic Washington, D.C.”
“We are thrilled the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played at Nationals Park as we welcome the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans to our nation’s capital,” Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis said. “We are delighted the D.C. area and our great fan base will have an opportunity to experience the Winter Classic, and we know that Nationals Park will provide an incredible backdrop for the game.”
Nationals Park is located in Southeast Washington, south of the Capitol, adjacent to the Navy Yard. The 41,546 seat venue opened in March 2008 and is home to the Washington Nationals.
“We are honored to have been selected to host the NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park,” said Mark D. Lerner, one of the Washington Nationals Principal Owners and Vice Chairman. “The Classic is one of North America’s premier sports events, and we look forward to sharing our ballpark and our city with NHL fans from around the world.”
In celebration of the much-anticipated outdoor game, the Capitals will unveil their NHL Winter Classic uniforms during a special event at Nationals Park on Sept. 23 at noon. Commissioner Bettman, Leonsis, Lerner, along with Capitals president Dick Patrick, general manager Brian MacLellan, Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby, will attend the event and will be available to the media following the ceremony.
The 2015 game will mark the seventh Winter Classic, an annual game that Forbes magazine called the best new sporting event of the last decade. It will mark the second time in history the Capitals will play an outdoor game. Washington defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in front of 68,111 fans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, 2011.
The 2014 NHL Winter Classic on NBC tied the highest-rated NHL regular-season sell out game in nearly four decades and became the second-most watched game in 39 years (4.4 million average viewers). The five previous NHL Winter Classics have produced the five most-watched NHL regular-season games in the past 39 years (average viewers). The Blackhawks will appear in the Winter Classic for the second time. Chicago hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in the 2009 Winter Classic. Washington is 24-15-5-1 all-time at home against Chicago, including a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks on April 11 at Verizon Center.
The 2015 event also will feature a Spectator Plaza that offers hockey-themed attractions, music and fun for fans of all ages. Further details on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, including ticketing information and uniform design for each team, will be released in the coming weeks. Every Washington Capitals full-season ticket member, partial plan member and group leader will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Details on ticket availability and pricing will be sent to full season-ticket members, partial plan holders and group leaders when they become available.