NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League (NHL) will host free fan events leading up to the2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® - the highly-anticipated Jan. 1 regular-season outdoor game between the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets - with the NHL Centennial Fan Arena and The PreGame. The NHL® Centennial Fan Arena first opens in Madison Square Park on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 27 and 28 before The PreGame, the official fan festival of the NHL Winter Classic® on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 at Citi Field.
The NHL Centennial Fan Arena, a touring tribute to a century of hockey thrills, will make its final stop on its year-long tour of all 31 NHL markets at Citi Field. Traveling more than 55,000 miles and crisscrossing the North American continent since Jan. 1, 2017, hundreds of thousands of fans have visited the Centennial experience. Through the NHL's Hockey Is For Everyone™ initiative, $155,000 has been donated to youth hockey organizations celebrating diversity in their community, and the Recycle the Game gear donation has recycled more than 4,000 lbs. of hockey equipment back into the various communities, avoiding landfills.
The Fan Arena will host the Stanley Cup® - the oldest and most revered trophy in all of professional sports - giving fans an opportunity to have their photograph taken with it throughout the two-day event. The main attraction of the Fan Arena is a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall. Customized to each market, the Museum Truck will showcase the history of the NHL and New York Rangers.
In addition to the Stanley Cup® and Museum, a pop-up ball hockey rink will give youth hockey players a chance to shine and fans can experience a never-before-seen virtual-reality Zamboni experience allowing them to compete against each other in a race to resurface the ice.
A special collection net will also be on-site for fans to donate gently-used hockey equipment. The equipment will be up-cycled back into the community, continuing the League-wide commitment to improve hockey's environmental footprint while supporting youth hockey.
The PreGame, including the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, will be open to the general public prior to the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET at Citi Field. The hockey-themed, family-friendly official fan festival of the NHL Winter Classic® is a free event and will feature hockey attractions, special appearances, food and music, as well as a New York Rangers-themed team history inside the Centennial Fan Arena.
A substantial lineup of NHL corporate partners will ring in the New Year at Citi Field, highlighted by interactive displays from Bridgestone and Nickelodeon.
Bridgestone is offering opportunities to deliver clutch performance with a variety of fun challenges that put fans in control. Pick up a stick and take aim at tire targets in a game of slapshot Tic-Tac-Tire, or test your gaming skills against the competition in Xbox's NHL18. And before you go, be sure to capture a digital New Year's keepsake with a unique photo in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® freeze frame.
Nickelodeon is partnering with the NHL for the first time and will bring a one-of-a-kind hockey experience to Citi Field, giving fans the opportunity to play a life-size game of air hockey. Within a 40x20 rink, two competitors will navigate giant bumper car-style vehicles in an attempt to score the most goals. In addition, attendees will be able to play table bubble air hockey games, take photos with a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed Zamboni® ice resurfacing machine, and pose in front of a slime waterfall.
Other NHL partners activating at The PreGame at the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® include Discover, Dunkin Donuts, GEICO, Honda, Kraft Heinz, Pepsi Zero Sugar, PPG Paints, MillerCoors, NHL Network™, Ticketmaster and Upper Deck. All bags will be searched prior to guests entering The PreGame. Tickets are not necessary to experience the various activations and interactive games.
Official 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® merchandise will be on-sale and autograph sessions will be held at various times featuring alumni from the New York Rangers.