NEW YORK – The National Hockey League announced Wednesday that the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals on Jan. 1, 2015, will be held at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The annual, outdoor celebration of hockey will be televised live nationally on NBC in the U.S. and on CBC and TVA in Canada at 1 p.m. ET on New Year's Day.
"The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® has made New Year's Day a highlight of the season for NHL fans everywhere," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "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."
Both the Capitals and Blackhawks will be making their second appearance in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, with the Capitals hosting the game for the first time. Washington defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in front of 68,111 fans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, 2011. Chicago hosted the Detroit Red Wings at historic Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009, with Detroit winning 6-4.
"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," said Capitals Majority Owner Ted Leonsis. "We are delighted the D.C. area and our great fan base will have an opportunity to experience the NHL Winter Classic, and we know that Nationals Park will provide an incredible backdrop for the game."
"It's an honor to be selected by the NHL to participate in the 2015 NHL Winter Classic," said Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough. "This is another marquee event for the Blackhawks and we're looking forward to spending New Year's Day in our nation's capital."
Located in Southeast Washington, south of the Capitol and adjacent to the Navy Yard, Nationals Park is home to Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals. The 41,546-seat venue opened in March 2008, with panoramic views of the riverfront, Navy Yard, the surrounding city and landmarks such as the Capitol and the Washington Monument.
"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."
The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will be the fourth NHL Winter Classic to be held in a baseball stadium, with the iconic New Year's Day game previously held at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Fenway Park in Boston and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
"On Jan. 1, D.C. will host a great hockey game outside: the Blackhawks vs. the Capitals in Nationals Park," said NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr. "The NHL Winter Classic has become a treasured tradition in our game, and the players are really looking forward to it."
The 2015 event will feature a Spectator Plaza outside of Nationals Park that offers hockey-themed attractions, music and fun for fans of all ages. Every Capitals full-season account holder 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 Capitals season-ticket holders by the club when they become available.
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 Tuesday, Sept. 23, at noon ET. Commissioner Bettman, Mr. Leonsis, Mr. McDonough and Mr. Lerner, along with Capitals president Dick Patrick, general manager Brian MacLellan, captain Alex Ovechkin, center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby, will attend the event and be available to the media following the ceremony.
Now an established tradition on the New Year's Day sports calendar, the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® continues to appeal to fans everywhere. The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® received the 2014 Sports Business Award for "Sports Event of the Year." The 2014 event at Michigan Stadium drew 105,491 fans, a record for an NHL game. Additionally, NBC's average broadcast audience for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® tied as the largest for an NHL regular-season game in the U.S. in nearly four decades. Similarly, CBC's audience was the largest audience ever for a non-playoff NHL game in Canadian broadcast history.
Bridgestone, the Official Tire of the NHL and the NHLPA, returns as title sponsor of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for the sixth consecutive game. The world's largest tire and rubber company, Bridgestone was named the 2012 "Sports Sponsor of the Year" by SportsBusiness Journal and continues to find creative ways of linking the importance of performance in its products to the performance of players on the ice. For more information, visit www.bridgestonetire.com.
"The partnership with the NHL represents an important piece of Bridgestone's commitment to sports on a global scale, and signature events like the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® provide our company with the perfect stage to showcase our high level of performance and commitment to innovation," said Phil Pacsi, Vice President of Customer Marketing and Training at Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. "The 2015 edition promises to bring as much passion and excitement as the record-setting 2014 event, and we're thrilled to continue the New Year's tradition at Nationals Park."
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.