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NHL Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals Rumors: Will National Park Will Host The 2015 NHL Winter Classic?

Brad Mills – USA Today Sports

At a press conference this morning, the Washington Capitals made it official that the 2015 NHL Winter Classic will be played in Washington January 1 2015. Who the Caps will play and where the game will be played will be announced at a later date, maybe in December.

Caps owner Ted Leonsis made the announcement himself this morning at the Capitals Convention:

“We are extremely excited to host the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and bring this great event to the D.C. area … Our great fan base deserves to experience the magnificence of an outdoor game. We are thrilled to once again be part of this great event.”

The smart money is that Nationals Park will host the the event and not Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland, the home of the Washington Redskins. Caps owner Ted Leonsis‘ minority partner happens to be Mark Lerner, who is a major part of the Washington Nationals‘ ownership group.

Nationals Park has a capacity of 41,000, and it can be expanded by another 10,000 for the event. It is located on the Southwest Waterfront of the District of Columbia and has wonderful views of all of the iconic Washington landmarks. The Capitol is about a mile from the stadium, the Washington Monument and the Mall are about two miles from Nationals Park.

There is no doubt that Fed Ex Field would allow for a large number of fans, but it is not likely that they will host the event for a number of reasons. The key reason is that the NHL needs over a week before the event to set up the ice rink, and that really puts Nationals Park at the top of the list of locations.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven time Emmy Award winning producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and join his circle on Google +