The last time the Chicago Blackhawks played outdoors, it was in the 2009 Winter Classic against the Detroit Red Wings. That was held at Wrigley Field, and fans braved the frigid January weather to watch the rival teams play. Since then, players and fans alike have been hungering for the Blackhawks to play in another Winter Classic game.
According to TSN and ESPN, they’ll get their wish. The NHL has announced that they’ve scheduled a slate of six outdoor games, including the Winter Classic, in the 2013-14 season. This time, the Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field on March 1. The Penguins are no strangers themselves to outdoor games, as they played in the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 and again in 2011.
The other games announced with the Blackhawks game stretch across two countries and go from coast to coast. The Winter Classic will feature the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium, while the New York Rangers will play two games at Yankee Stadium. The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings will play at Dodger Stadium, and the Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks will meet at BC Place. The six games will be held between January 1 and March 2.
The Blackhawks have actually had a taste of what playing at Soldier Field would be like. Back in February, they held a brief practice there when the ice was set up for the Hockey City Classic, two games featuring four top college hockey teams. After their practice, they skated with wounded veterans who were participating in a game later that day.