National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman says the New Year’s Day Winter Classic match-up between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals will give hockey fans all they could want.
“If you love rivalries, Capitals/Penguins may be our best. If you enjoy the sight of team captains providing passionate leadership and game-breaking skill, I don’t think you could do much better than Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin,” says Bettman. “And if you can’t get enough star power, both of these teams are loaded with it.”
The outdoor game is scheduled to fill Heinz Field about a week after the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Carolina Panthers there.
It will be the fourth annual January 1 Classic, with each showcasing a well-known football or baseball arena. The Penguins beat the Sabres 2-1 in the first Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium, in Buffalo, New York in 2008.
Bettman predicts the game will sell out quickly, noting that demand for tickets has gone into the hundreds of thousands in previous Winter Classic games.
Every team in the Winter Classic introduces a new sweater for the event. The Penguins’ popular powder-blue uniforms were first worn in the 2008 game and they’re expected to don a new design for this game as well.