Blackhawks, Penguins to play NHL game at Soldier Field
May 1, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in a regular-season outdoor game at Soldier Field next year.
The NHL said Wednesday that the game will be played Saturday night, March 1. Other outdoor games are expected to be announced soon.
The Blackhawks hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009, as part of the Winter Classic series. About 40,818 fans were at the home of the Chicago Cubs for that game, with thousands more looking on from rooftops across the street.
The Penguins will be participating in their third regular-season outdoor NHL game since 2008. The first NHL Winter Classic featured the Buffalo Sabres playing host to the Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Year's Day 2008. The Penguins later welcomed the Washington Capitals to Heinz Field in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
Both teams have enjoyed franchise turnarounds in the last decade, largely due to successful drafts. Jonathan Toews (3rd overall, 2006) and Patrick Kane (1st overall, 2007) took the Blackhawks from a 29th-place finish in 2003-04 to the organization's first Stanley Cup in 49 years in 2009-10. Sidney Crosby (1st overall, 2005), Evgeni Malkin (2nd overall, 2004) and Marc-Andre Fleury (1st overall, 2003) lifted the Penguins from last place in the league in 2003-04 to Stanley Cup champions in 2008-09.
Further details, including national broadcast information and specifics on ticket opportunities for the season-ticket holders of each team, will be released soon, the NHL said. Fans wanting updates can register at www.NHL.com/2014Chicago.Five of the six most-watched regular-season NHL games in the U.S. in the past 37 years have been played outdoors, the NBL says.
This year's Winter Classic is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 1, when the Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus.
The first-ever NHL regular-season game contested outdoors was played in 2003 when the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium. For the 2010 Winter Classic, the Boston Bruins hosted the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park. In February 2011, the Calgary Flames hosted the Canadiens in the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium. In 2012, the Flyers hosted the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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