NHL announces location for next year's Winter Classic as they try and create a new rivalry

Published January 2, 2023 at 2:36 PM

Today, the NHL will play its annual Winter Classic outdoor game, this year featuring the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins at historic Fenway Park. These games are an outdoor spectacle, and bring the game back to its roots in the outdoor setting. Yet already, the league is looking towards next year.

The NHL has announced today that next year's Winter Classic will feature the Seattle Kraken against the Vegas Golden Knights, hosted by Seattle's T-Mobile Park.

This game is seen as a reward for the NHL's two newest franchises and their fanbases. While the games' quality is sometimes deteriorated by the outdoor conditions, they always seem to produce some dramatics, with the setting itself being one of the most dramatic pieces.

In an interview with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman, the NHL's Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer relayed some concerns about building an outdoor rink in the notoriously rainy city of Seattle. With T-Mobile Park playing host, the NHL will be able to cover the field while constructing the rink, which will serve as their defence against rain impacting the ice. Not long ago, the NHL faced delays and ice problems at the outdoor game on Lake Tahoe, and they've seemed to have learned a lesson about the reliability of ice conditions.

In addition to rewarding the newest franchise and their already rabid fans in Seattle, the NHL feels similarly towards the franchise and fans of Vegas. Coming into the league in a non-traditional market and becoming and immediate success is a massive accomplishment, to which the NHL feels deserving of yet another outdoor game.

At the moment, only the Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Florida Panthers have not competed in an outdoor game. The Coyotes and Panthers could ostensibly be visitors in an outdoor game, as their climate may be impossible to host. The Blue Jackets could host, but as is the case with the Coyotes, their roster would need to be better to appeal to be a part of a marquee matchup. The NHL's goal is to eventually have every team in an outdoor game, and it seems that goal will be completed in the near future.
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