NEW YORK -- With just under four weeks until the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the countdown to the much-anticipated outdoor match-up between the Chicago Blackhawks® and Washington Capitals® on New Year's Day has begun.
Hockey's biggest stars -- including Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane -- will take center stage as the Blackhawks and Capitals meet in Washington, D.C. at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals. The event will be broadcast live nationally on NBC in the United States and on CBC and TVA in Canada on 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 1.
Events and activities leading up to the annual outdoor hockey celebration will include:
The Rink Build at Nationals Park
The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Ice Plant presented by York -- the custom-built 53-foot, 300-ton capacity truck that houses the specialized equipment used to make the ice for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and the world's largest mobile rink refrigeration unit -- will depart from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Dec. 10 and arrive at Nationals Park on Dec. 15, when the rink build officially will begin. Approximately 61,000 square feet of armor decking will be installed to protect the field; and then the ice pans and dasher boards are scheduled to be installed. When ice-making begins, workers will create a nearly two-inch thick ice surface at Nationals Park ready for the best hockey players in the world to play on. Fans can follow the entire rink-build process through interactive features and extensive coverage, including the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® time lapse video on NHL.com and NHL Network.
EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic™
The new original series, produced in partnership between premium TV network EPIX and the NHL, will premiere on Dec. 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The special series, produced by 52-time Emmy award winner Ross Greenburg, will bring viewers onto the ice and behind-the-scenes with the Blackhawks and the Capitals as they prepare for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. For more information on the four-episode weekly series, including air dates and times, visit epix.com/NHL.
In The Kitchen with Duff Goldman
Food Network star -- and lifelong hockey fan -- Duff Goldman will be sharing exclusive Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic-themed content at NHL.com during the countdown to New Year's Day game. In addition, the famed chef and owner of Charm City Cakes will also bring something sweet to Spectator Plaza on Jan. 1.
NHL Legacy Event
Later today, Friday, Dec. 5, as part of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Legacy Initiative, the NHL and Capitals will unveil a refurbished street hockey rink in Southeast Washington, D.C. Watkins Rush Rink, located at the Watkins Elementary School and Recreation Center, was formerly a basketball court, but due to high demand for a places to play hockey in the area it will be converted into a street hockey rink.
Team Practices at Nationals Park
The Blackhawks and the Capitals will take to the ice for the first time at Nationals Park for team practices and family skates on Dec. 31. NHL Network™ and NHL.com will provide full coverage of the team skates throughout the day.
2015 NHL Spectator Plaza presented by Geico
On game day, the 2015 NHL Spectator Plaza presented by Geico, a free fan festival with hockey-themed attractions, music and fun for all ages, will be held at the Fairgrounds outside the Center Field Gate at Nationals Park, from 9 a.m. -- 1 p.m. ET. Additional information on the 2015 NHL Spectator Plaza presented by Geico and its many attractions will follow in the coming days.
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 event at Michigan Stadium drew 105,491 fans, an all-time attendance 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, the event generated the largest audience ever for a non-playoff NHL game in Canadian broadcast history.
NHL.com and NHL Network will deliver to fans comprehensive coverage of both teams as the event approaches. Additionally, through the type of access only the NHL can provide, fans will see all the information, stories, exclusive reporting and video they need to prepare for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. For the latest on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, fans should follow the NHL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and join the conversation by using the official hashtag #WinterClassic.
The official 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® VIP ticket and hospitality packages are available exclusively from PrimeSport, the Official Fan Travel and Hospitality Package Partner of the NHL®. Packages include a game ticket, Official PrimeSport Pregame Party access, hotel accommodations, and more. For more information, please visit www.PrimeSport.com.
Washington, D.C. is known for being a destination rich in stirring monuments and free, world-class museums. Find hundreds of free (and almost free) things to do, as well as restaurants, neighborhood guides, and suggested itineraries on Washington.org. Visitors in search of insider tips and seasonal specials should check out www.DCcool.com. As supporters of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, hotel members of Destination DC, the official tourism and marketing office for Washington, D.C. have created 40+ seasonal hotel packages on a securing booking platform, accessible on Washington.org.