It didn’t take long for fans to grab on to the Winter Classic, as there is something just right about watching hockey outdoors on a crisp winter afternoon. Since it started a few years back in Buffalo, there has been an explosion of demand for outdoor hockey games, though none can match the Winter Classic. Here’s a look at the past games and a preview of why you might want to grab a few Winter Classic Tickets this year.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres, 2008
It took a few years for the first Winter Classic to actually materialize, but what a smashing success it was when the Penguins and Sabres finally squared off for this one. More than 71,000 fans packed Ralph Wilson Stadium – home to the Buffalo Bills – and the Penguins and Sabres played a memorable game that went all the way down to the wire. When the Penguins squeaked out a shootout win, the home fans were devastated, but a new tradition was born anyway.
Red Wings at Blackhawks, 2009
Normally you head to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs, but plenty came out in 2009 to see the Detroit Red Wings take on the Chicago Blackhawks. With two old teams squaring off with one another, the second Classic proved that the hype around the first one wasn’t a fluke, and the Red Wings ended up winning a high scoring one, 6-4.
Flyers at Bruins, 2010
Those that came out to Fenway saw first-hand that it can be more than just a great place to go during the summer. The Bruins ended up being the first home team to win the Classic, giving fans a thrilling overtime, game-winning goal.
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins, 2011
With Alex Ovechkin coming to town to take on the talented Penguins in a great matchup, this one was another enormous success. More than 68,000 fans poured into Heinz Field in Pittsburgh to watch the Capitals outplay the Penguins and finish with a 3-1 win, even if the Penguins were able to keep Alex the Great under wraps for almost the entire game. This one saw the second most fans in the short history of the Classic and ranks as one of the most memorable.
New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers, 2012
The Flyers get another chance to win a Winter Classic game, after narrowly losing an overtime thriller in 2010 to their rivals, the Boston Bruins. With a different rival to make a run at, there are sure to be plenty of New York fans sprinkled into the many Philly fans that will be cramming into Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s been a rough few months for the Philly sports fans, and this should be a great event featuring two prominent northeastern teams. With the Flyers looking like one of the very best teams in the league in the early going this year, it will also be a chance to show their talents to a much wider national audience than usual for a regular season NHL game.