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Report: Washington Capitals to host 2015 NHL Winter Classic

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Nationals Park in Washington, DC

Nationals Park is the most likely venue for a Capitals outdoor game. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

It wasn’t long after Washington owner Ted Leonsis promised a major announcement at Saturday’s Capitals Convention that speculation narrowed to two possibilities: a jersey retirement or the Winter Classic.

Better bring a scarf, kids, ’cause the Caps are playing outside.

Katie Carrera of the Washington Post is reporting this morning that the 2015 Winter Classic is coming to Washington.

The team isn’t commenting on the report, of course. No reason to spoil tomorrow’s official unveiling.

But that silence leaves two obvious questions hanging: who are they playing and where will it take place?

There’s no word on Washington’s opponent yet, but we’ve seen the drill before. Big market, superstar-laden teams only need apply, so don’t be surprised if it’s Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston or the New York Rangers.

Carrera speculates that Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals, is the likeliest host location as team owner Mark Lerner is a minority partner in Leonsis’ Monumental Sports and Entertainment. The five-year-old ballpark doesn’t exactly fit the mold of an iconic location that the league prefers, and with seating for just 41,546 in a baseball configuration it’s on the small side, but hey, it’s tough to trump synergy.

There are other options, though, including FedEx Field and RFK Stadium. Unfortunately, The Mall isn’t one of them.

“The idea of a game being played on the Mall has been floated around for many years – it is NOT feasible; there aren’t enough common areas to build out seats,” Leonsis wrote on Jan. 3, 2012. “And the expense involved to create locker rooms; ice stands and studios are prohibitive. The Mall is managed by the National Park Service, as well.”

The Capitals last participated in the 2011 Winter Classic against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field, a game best remembered for rain pushing an afternoon start time into the evening and the Dave Steckel elbow that almost ended Sidney Crosby’s career. Washington won that one, 3-1.

  • Published On Sep 20, 2013
  • 10 comments
    John52
    John52

    Find a way to play it on the Mall.  I can figure out the logistics for it.

    Remington
    Remington

    How about something west of Detroit ..this is getting ridiculous. I'm in Minnesota and while it would be nice to have it here, at least get some western teams involved.. Way to go Bettman.

    Mathonwy
    Mathonwy

    Won't there be, like, a dozen outdoor games by 2015?

    2001mark
    2001mark

    PlEaSe don't be the f'n Penguins AGAIN.  

    Tim70
    Tim70

    Steckel hit Crosby with a shoulder in what appeared to be an accidental collision.

    IanHartless
    IanHartless

    As a Caps fan, I have to say that while it's nice to see D.C. get the Classic, it's long past time to get some teams out west involved too. How can you grow the game by having the same few teams in it every year?

    ITATTRACTS
    ITATTRACTS

    Winter Classics are awesome and the more cities that get to host them, the better. We went to the last one and it was a really fun time. Great for hockey and great for kids to experience outdoor hockey with the best of the best. 

    ITATTRACTS
    ITATTRACTS

    @IanHartless You do realize part of the WINTER classic is having the outdoor cold/snow elements right? 

    IanHartless
    IanHartless

    Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton have "winter elements". Jesus Christ.