– The National Hockey League's transformation of Wrigley Field for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic™ 2009 will extend to the area outside the historic venue, it was announced today. On Wednesday, Dec. 31, and Thursday, Jan. 1, the corner of West Waveland and North Clark Streets will become NHL Winter Classic™ Spectator Plaza, a free outdoor hockey and entertainment fan festival, in celebration of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic New Year's Day outdoor game between the Chicago Blackhawks
and the Detroit Red Wings
at Wrigley. Weather permitting, fans of all ages can enjoy two fun-filled days of free entertainment - including a live musical performance, interactive hockey-themed attractions, an ice sculpting display, roving entertainment, chances to win tickets to the NHL Winter Classic game and the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal and more.
During the two-day festival, fans will be able to enjoy a game of air hockey in the food and beverage tent sponsored by Bud Light and purchase Officially Licensed NHL Winter Classic 2009 merchandise in the NHL retail area. Honda will showcase its 2009 Honda Ridgeline and its 2009 Honda Pilot. NHL Network street teams will review programming information with fans.
Verizon Wireless will offer fans the chance to test their hockey skills against a projected greenscreen version of the NHL Winter Classic goalie of their choice, Detroit's Chris Osgood
or Chicago's Cristobal Huet
, during the two-day festival. Verizon Wireless customers will be able to have video clips of their greenscreen one-on-one scoring challenges emailed directly to their wireless phones. Verizon Wireless will select the two best video clips and showcase them on the jumbotron during the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic game. Fans can text their vote for the best clip and the fan featured in the winning clip will receive a trip for two to attend the 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend in Montreal.
On Wednesday, Dec. 31, the day's events will begin at 11 a.m. with the exclusive live NHL Network broadcast of the Chicago Blackhawks
and Detroit Red Wings
team practices from Wrigley Field. Fans in NHL Winter Classic Spectator Plaza will be able to view the team practices on a 14' x 18' LED video screen. WGN Radio 720 AM will broadcast live from Spectator Plaza on Wednesday and will give away a pair of Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic tickets to one lucky fan. Later that day, Chicago Blackhawks
alumni will take center stage at NHL Winter Classic Spectator Plaza for an interactive WGN roundtable discussion.
Game-day festivities begin at Spectator Plaza at 9 a.m. on Thurs., Jan. 1. Six professional face painters, four juggles and four stilt walkers from Chicago-based Productions USA, Inc. will provide roving entertainment. Local band, Maggie Speaks, will perform live from 9:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The Chicago Blackhawks
will play host to the Detroit Red Wings
at Wrigley Field in the Bridgestone NHL Winter ClassicTM 2009 on New Year's Day. The game will be the 701st all-time meeting of the clubs – no NHL opponents have played more regular-season games against each other. Face-off is at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT. NBC will provide live broadcast coverage of the game in the U.S. In Canada, CBC and RDS will televise the event live. NHL Network in the U.S. and Canada will provide live broadcast coverage, including the team outdoor practices on December 31 and pre-game and post-game shows on New Year's Day. NHL Radio™ will provide coverage for radio stations across North America and NHL.com will provide extensive editorial and video coverage. Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009 will be the second regular-season outdoor NHL game played in the United States and the third regular-season outdoor game in League history.