Take two Original Six rivals, throw in tens of thousands of hockey fans, mix in some Weezer, and maybe even some snow, and you have the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
New Year’s Day will see the Boston Bruins and host Chicago Blackhawks meet outdoors at iconic Notre Dame Stadium, as the National Hockey League adds another prestigious venue to its glittering resume.
While the Blackhawks have had their challenges this season, all hands will be on deck when they take to the ice for the fourth time in a Winter Classic. As for the Bruins, they’ve been in the Eastern Conference playoff mix since the drop of the puck back in early October, and the two points up for grabs in this one are crucial as they try to climb spots in the tough Atlantic Division.
This will be the third Winter Classic for Boston, and the first time they haven’t been the home team. Ever since the NHL began holding the Classic back in Buffalo in 2008 (Pittsburgh over Buffalo 2-1 in a snowy shootout at the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills), the visiting team has prevailed in 7 of the 10 games played.
Most of the Winter Classic games have been close, with the exception of Montreal over Boston 5-1 at Gillette Stadium in 2016. Two of the games have gone to the shootout, while a couple of games were decided in overtime. As for the two teams involved this time around, the Bruins are 1-1 in Winter Classic games, while the Blackhawks have yet to win in the big game. They dropped games to Detroit (2009), Washington (2015), and St. Louis (2017).
Notre Dame Stadium will represent the second time the game has been played in an iconic U.S. college football stadium. The Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in the shootout at a jammed pack Michigan Stadium in 2014. That game set the all-time NHL attendance record of 105,491 happy souls shivering in the New Year Day’s chill.
It’s called The Winter Classic for a reason, and weather plays a big factor in the game. If you’re planning on going to the game, dress warmly, and enjoy the spectacle. The weather can also affect how the game is played, though ice conditions are rarely a concern, as NHL Operations Manager Dan Craig and his battle tested crew are ready for any obstacle.
Attending a Winter Classic game is on the bucket list of most hockey fans, but if you can’t make it to South Bend, Indiana for this year’s contest, we’ve got you covered on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio Channel 91. The pre-game show gets underway at 11 am Eastern (8 am Pacific), with the opening face-off expected just after 1 pm Eastern (10 am Pacific).