Who needs college bowl games on New Year’s Day? Wouldn’t you rather watch a good, old-fashioned, outdoor hockey game?
The Capitals will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Jan. 1, 2011. As if the battle of Alex Ovechkin against Sidney Crosby weren’t scintillating enough, there’s this little detail: the game will be played at Heinz Field, home (most of the time) to the Pittsburgh Steelers. An official announcement is expected today.
“It’ll be a winter celebration for the region,” Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
While there's plenty to be excited about at the thoughts of Crosby and Ovechkin playing an outdoor affair, it's a little bittersweet for Caps fans, who wanted to have the game played in the D.C. area, either at Nats Park or FedEx Field.
But good news came from Friday's official announcement. Everyone's favorite NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, announced that the D.C. area will be home to a future outdoor game in the next two or three years.
“We are ... pleased that the NHL has agreed to play a future outdoor game in the D.C. area,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. “Our organization is extremely appreciative of Commissioner Bettman’s efforts and that he recognized our intense desire to have our great fan base and the D.C. area enjoy all the benefits associated with an outdoor game."
The Caps said that all full season-ticket account holders will be given an opportunity to purchase tickets to the game in Pittsburgh.
The game is part of the NHL’s Winter Classic series. Rumors are another outdoor game will be held in Canada in February between the Canadiens and Flames.
The league now has a tradition of beginning the new year with a game at an outdoor venue. Last year’s game was played at Fenway Park in Boston.
You can expect an even larger crowd at this year’s game. Heinz Field accommodates more than 66,000 people for football. Most of those seats will be available for the Winter Classic.