With the NHL Winter Classic just days away, Citi Field is set to become the first venue in New York City to host the annual event.
For the 2018 NHL Winter Classic, the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers will square off in a New Year’s Day matchup at Citi Field. The ballpark is home to MLB’s New York Mets, but has been used for other events over the years, including concerts and soccer matches.
However, its upcoming turn as the host of the NHL Winter Classic will be significant for a few reasons. Citi Field will become the sixth MLB Ballpark to stage a Winter Classic, joining the likes of Wrigley Field (Chicago), Fenway Park (Boston), Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia), Nationals Park (Washington), and Busch Stadium (St. Louis). It will also be the first to be staged in New York City. As the event approaches, some–including NBC Sports president of programming Jon Miller–believe that Citi Field is up to the task of hosting the contest. More from Newsday:
“I’m excited to finally have it in New York,” he said. “I think it’s a great way to celebrate. New York City is the center of the country for the most part on New Year’s Eve, and it extends the party until the next day.”
Generally speaking football stadiums provide better site lines for makeshift hockey rinks than do baseball stadiums, but Miller said Citi Field sets up well, and the game has been a tough ticket despite a forecast of bitter cold.
While the 2018 edition of the event will be the first NHL Winter Classic to be played in New York City, the league has staged outdoor games in New York before. In 2014, Yankee Stadium was used as part of the NHL Stadium Series. The 2018 NHL Winter Classic will begin at 1:00 p.m. eastern.