The Winter Classic Is the NHL at Its Best
The 2015 Winter Classic will be held at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. this season, pitting the hometown Washington Capitals against the Chicago Blackhawks. This will be the first outdoor NHL game to be played at Nationals Park, and the first time the Capitals have hosted the yearly event.
Though the Capitals have never hosted a Winter Classic, they are not new to the game. Four years ago, Alexander Ovechkin and company met Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field. They were featured on HBO’s 24/7 during the month of December and many players on the 2011-12 team remain so they will be prepared for the hype and build-up that is a staple of the Winter Classic. This year, HBO will not be running their 24/7 show, but the Capitals will still have cameras in their faces as there will be a four-part series chronicled on EPIX.com and NHL.com leading up to January 1st.
The Blackhawks are also quite familiar with the Winter Classis as they hosted the 2009 game at Wrigley Field. Chicago lost to the Detroit Red Wings 6-4 so they will be looking to even their Winter Classic record to .500.
Though it’s been five years since Chicago last played in a Winter Classic, they were involved in last year’s first ever Stadium Series. The Blackhawks hosted the aforementioned Penguins at Soldier Field on March 1st, a game they would go on to win 5-1.
So both teams have played an outdoor game during the past four years and both teams will be ready to go come the New Year. Chicago has looked particularly impressive coming out of the gate, garnering 37 points in their first 27 games of the season. Washington has been less impressive (28 points in their first 26 games) but they would qualify for the playoffs if the postseason were to begin today.
Winter Classic tickets begin at $285 on TicketCity. Though it’s natural to believe tickets that are closest to the action are the best, for outdoor hockey games, tickets that are elevated a bit are typically much more attractive. That is why you find many of the highest-priced tickets are located in the mezzanine section located behind home plate (Sections 206-221.) Due to the fact that there is a lot of operational equipment and personnel that are located on the field during the game, it’s difficult for many fans seated in the lower level to actually see what is taking place on the rink.
With the quantity of tickets still relatively high, it’s expected that ticket prices will fall as we get closer to January 1st. The weather will also play a major role, though previous Winter Classic have dealt with snow, rain, blustery conditions, and freezing temperatures, and it has hardly swayed many fans from enjoying one of the game’s best spectacles. Nonetheless, if the weather forecast is bleak for D.C. come the New Year, chances are ticket prices will dip into the $100-200 range as a get-in price. Either way, you can expect a well-fought game between two of the NHL’s most talented teams.