2017 NHL Winter Classic

The 2017 NHL Winter Classic (officially the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic)[1] was an outdoor regular season National Hockey League (NHL) game, part of the Winter Classic series, played on January 2, 2017. The game featured the St. Louis Blues taking on the Chicago Blackhawks at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, home of Major League Baseball's Cardinals. The game was announced on March 9, 2016, after news of the matchup had been leaked on February 7 before the details had been finalized,[2] and was one of four outdoor regular season games during the 2016–17 NHL season.

2017 NHL Winter Classic
2017 NHL Winter Classic logo
123 Total
Chicago Blackhawks 100 1
St. Louis Blues 013 4
DateJanuary 2, 2017
ArenaBusch Stadium
CitySt. Louis, Missouri
Attendance46,556
← 2016 2018 →

Background

2017 Winter Classic (31726750740) (cropped1)
Busch Stadium hosts the 2017 Winter Classic

St. Louis had expressed interest in an outdoor game as early as 2011, with this matchup being their first.[3]

The Blackhawks played in their third Winter Classic, following appearances in 2009 and 2015; with the appearance, the Blackhawks will have appeared in the contest more times than any other team. It is also the fourth consecutive year (and fifth overall) in which the Blackhawks play an outdoor game, having also played the 2014 and 2016 Stadium Series in addition to the 2015 and 2017 Winter Classics.

This matchup was of the storied Blackhawks–Blues rivalry, both members of the NHL's Central Division. The game was held in St. Louis to mark the 50th anniversary of the Great Expansion of 1967, in which the Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars (which became the Dallas Stars in 1993) and California Golden Seals (who merged with the North Stars in 1978; the San Jose Sharks were then spun off from the North Stars in 1991) were formed, doubling the league's size.[2] The Flyers and Penguins were another candidate for the 2017 Winter Classic, but scheduling conflicts with the National Football League in both cities and winterization concerns regarding Beaver Stadium (a neutral site stadium discussed as another possibility for a Flyers–Penguins outdoor contest) led St. Louis to be chosen instead.[2] St. Louis has no NFL or major college team, and even when it did, the Rams (who left in January 2016 for Los Angeles) played in an indoor dome; Busch Stadium, a baseball venue, is the city's only sufficiently sized outdoor stadium. The Penguins and Flyers will instead play a Stadium Series game in Pittsburgh later in 2017.

The league considered having BMO Field and the Toronto Maple Leafs host the 2017 Winter Classic against the New York Rangers, but the 2016 Winter Classic, which featured the Montreal Canadiens, received the lowest U.S. ratings in the game's history. Jon Miller, president of NBC Sports programming, credited the poor ratings to multiple factors, including several bowl games involving teams from markets that are popularly associated with hockey, not being held at a sufficiently iconic venue, and most prominently, the presence of a Canadian team. Miller argued that having all-U.S. matchups in the Winter Classic helps to guarantee local viewership that counts towards NBC's ratings.[4][5]

The NHL ultimately announced on March 9, 2016 that there would be two outdoor games during the New Year's weekend. First, as January 1, 2017 fell on a Sunday, the NHL followed the precedent of the 2012 Winter Classic and college football bowl games by scheduling the 2017 Winter Classic for Monday, January 2, instead of its customary New Year's Day scheduling.[6][7] The league then announced an outdoor game would be played on New Year's Day in Toronto, known as the Centennial Classic—a re-match of the 2014 Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. It would be held at BMO Field to commemorate the centennial season of the Maple Leafs, and the beginning of the NHL's centennial year.[8]

Game summary

The St. Louis Blues won 4-1 behind goalie Jake Allen's 22 saves, and with star Vladimir Tarasenko scoring two goals in the third period turning a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 lead. An empty-net goal provided the 4-1 final score. Michal Kempný had the Chicago Blackhawls' only goal.[9]

Scoring summary
Period Team Goal Assist(s) Time Score
1st CHI Michal Kempný (2) Artemi Panarin (24), Duncan Keith (35) 1:02 CHI 1-0
2nd STL Patrik Berglund (6) Jay Bouwmeester (7), Alexander Steen (16) 7:45 1-1
3rd STL Vladimir Tarasenko (17) Robby Fabbri (13) 12:05 STL 2-1
STL Vladimir Tarasenko (18) Jori Lehterä (7), Robby Fabbri (14) 13:58 STL 3-1
STL Alexander Steen (4) (EN)   18:46 STL 4-1
Number in parenthesis represents the player's total in goals or assists to that point of the season
Penalty summary
Period Team Player Penalty Time PIM
1st STL Alex Pietrangelo Slashing 10:24 2:00
CHI Brian Campbell Delay of game 17:40 2:00
2nd CHI Artemi Panarin Holding the stick 04:29 2:00
STL Robby Fabbri Boarding 10:31 2:00
CHI Ryan Hartman Interference 19:14 2:00
3rd CHI Ryan Hartman Slashing 04:54 2:00
STL Ryan Reaves Interference 09:33 2:00
Shots by period
Team 1 2 3 Total
Chicago 6 11 6 23
St. Louis 8 15 12 35
Power play opportunities
Team Goals/Opportunities
Chicago 0/3
St. Louis 0/4
Three star selections
Team Player Statistics
1st STL Vladimir Tarasenko 2 goals
2nd STL Jake Allen 22 saves
3rd CHI Duncan Keith 1 assist

Television

In the United States, the game was broadcast by NBC. In Canada, the game was broadcast in English on Sportsnet, and in French by TVA Sports. Sportsnet simulcast NBC's feed while TVA used NBC's video.

Epix would produce a documentary series, Road to the NHL Outdoor Classics, focusing on preparations for both the Winter Classic and NHL Centennial Classic.[10] Unlike previous years, where NBC was able to share resources with other rightsholders at the Winter Classic, NBC was the only rightsholder with a production presence at the game. St. Louis native and NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas contributed to pre-game coverage.[11]

An average of 2.557 million viewers watched the U.S. broadcast, making it the tenth highest-rated regular season broadcast on NBC, but the lowest-rated Winter Classic overall, continuing a years-long decline in viewership for the event.[12]

Alumni Game

The St. Louis Blues won the game 8–7 on Saturday, December 31, 2016.[13]

The roster for the Blackhawks consisted of: Adrian Aucoin, Murray Bannerman, Adam Burish, Kyle Calder, Daniel Carcillo, Jim Cummins, Eric Daze, Ben Eager, Reg Kerr, Steve Konroyd, David Mackey, Jamal Mayers, Grant Mulvey, Troy Murray, Brian Noonan, Jack O'Callahan, Darren Pang, Steve Poapst, Reid Simpson, Brent Sopel, Gary Suter and Jimmy Waite, with Tony Esposito and Cliff Koroll serving as coaches.[14]

The roster for the Blues consisted of: Bruce Affleck, Jeff Brown, Martin Brodeur, Garth Butcher, Gino Cavallini, Paul Cavallini, Kelly Chase, Dallas Drake, Bernie Federko, Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Barret Jackman, Mike Liut, Al MacInnis, Chris Mason, Scott Mellanby, Adam Oates, Larry Patey, Chris Pronger, Jamie Rivers, Bryce Salvador, Ed Staniowski, Peter Stastny, Keith Tkachuk, Pierre Turgeon, Terry Yake and Scott Young, with Red Berenson, Bob Plager, Brian Sutter and Garry Unger serving as coaches.[15]

Entertainment

Prior to the game, hip-hop artist Nelly performed in front of the crowd.

During the second intermission, Blues anthem singer Charles Glenn performed with his band, The Charles Glenn Band, accompanied by the McCluer North High School choir. The songs that they performed were God Bless America, Ride Sally Ride, and When the Blues Go Marching In.

Blues organist, Jeremy Boyer, entertained and pumped up fans throughout the game on the Busch Stadium organ. Boyer also plays organ for the St. Louis Cardinals and has played organ for both the Blues and Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

References

  1. ^ Chris Pinkert. "2017 Bridgestone Winter Classic Comes to STL" (Press release). St. Louis Blues. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Rutherford, Jeremy (February 7, 2016). "Blues could host Blackhawks in 2017 Winter Classic". stltoday.com. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  3. ^ Rutherford, Jeremy (January 1, 2011). "Blues owner pushing for Winter Classic at Busch". Stltoday.com. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  4. ^ Jared Clinton (December 15, 2015). "Report: Maple Leafs to host 2017 Winter Classic at BMO Field". The Hockey News. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  5. ^ Greg Wyshynski (January 4, 2016). "NBC happy with Winter Classic ratings, but wary of Canadian teams". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "Blues could host Blackhawks in 2017 Winter Classic". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  7. ^ Molinari, Dave (February 5, 2016). "Penguins, Flyers planning home-and-home series of outdoors games". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "Detroit Red Wings, Maple Leafs set to play outdoor Centennial Classic". Detroit Free Press. Gannett. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  9. ^ "Vladimir Tarasenko lifts Blues to Winter Classic win". NHL.com. January 2, 2017.
  10. ^ "Countdown to NHL Centennial Classic begins". NHL.com. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  11. ^ "Let's Play Two: NBC Sports Delivers Pair of Outdoor Classics to Ring in the New Year". Sports Video Group. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  12. ^ "NHL Winter Classic ratings blew away Centennial Classic on NBC". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  13. ^ "Blues fans put their loyalty, passion on display". NHL.com. December 31, 2016.
  14. ^ Blackhawks name roster for Winter Classic Alumni Game
  15. ^ Blues announce Winter Classic alumni roster
2017 NHL Stadium Series

The 2017 NHL Stadium Series (officially the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series for sponsorship reasons) was a regular season National Hockey League (NHL) game played outdoors, part of the Stadium Series of games held at football or baseball stadiums. The Philadelphia Flyers played against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 25, 2017.This was the only game in the Stadium Series scheduled during the 2016–17 NHL season (as opposed to multiple games in 2016), but the fourth and last outdoor regular-season games during that season. An announced attendance of 67,318 made the game one of the most attended outdoor NHL games in history.

2017–18 NHL season

The 2017–18 NHL season was the 101st season of operation (100th season of play) of the National Hockey League. With the addition of a new expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, 31 teams competed in an 82-game regular season. The regular season began on October 4, 2017, and ended on April 8, 2018. The 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs began on April 11, 2018, and concluded on June 7, with the Washington Capitals winning their first Stanley Cup in the Finals over the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

Busch Stadium

Busch Stadium, also referred to informally as "New Busch Stadium" or "Busch Stadium III", is a baseball park located in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. The stadium has a seating capacity of 44,494, and contains 3,706 club seats and 61 luxury suites. It replaced Busch Memorial Stadium (aka Busch Stadium II) and occupies a portion of that stadium's former footprint. A commercial area, dubbed Ballpark Village, was built adjacent to the stadium over the remainder of the former stadium's footprint.

The stadium opened on April 4, 2006 with an exhibition between the minor league Memphis Redbirds and Springfield Cardinals, both affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals, which Springfield won 5-3 with right-hander Mike Parisi recording the first win. The first official major league game occurred on April 10, 2006 as the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 6–4 behind an Albert Pujols home run and winning pitcher Mark Mulder.

The highest attendance for a sports event other than baseball was on May 23, 2013, when 48,263 people watched Chelsea Football Club and Manchester City Football Club play a friendly match. To date, the largest attendance for a baseball game occurred Mothers Day May 12th, 2019 with an attendance of 48,556 in a game between the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The stadium is the third stadium in St. Louis to carry the name Busch Stadium. Sportsman's Park was renamed Busch Stadium in 1953, after team owner Gussie Busch. The first Busch Stadium closed in 1966 and both the baseball Cardinals, and the National Football League (NFL)'s team of the same name (now the Arizona Cardinals) moved to a new multi-purpose stadium, named Busch Memorial Stadium. However, the current stadium is actually a corporate name and named after Anheuser-Busch, not Gussie Busch. The naming rights deal was signed in 2004 and would extend from the stadium's opening in 2006 until 2026.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks (spelled Black Hawks until 1986, and known colloquially as the Hawks) are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). They have won six Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926. The Blackhawks are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams along with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Since 1994, the club's home rink is the United Center, which they share with the National Basketball Association's Chicago Bulls. The club had previously played for 65 years at Chicago Stadium.The club's original owner was Frederic McLaughlin, who owned the club until his death in 1944. Under McLaughlin, a "hands-on" owner who fired many coaches during his ownership, the club won two Stanley Cup titles. The club was then owned by the Norris family, who as owners of the Chicago Stadium were the club's landlord, and owned stakes in several of the NHL teams. At first, the Norris ownership was as part of a syndicate fronted by long-time executive Bill Tobin, and the team languished in favor of the Norris-owned Detroit Red Wings. After the senior James E. Norris died in 1952, the Norris assets were spread among family members and James D. Norris became owner. Norris Jr. took an active interest in the team and under his ownership, the club won one Stanley Cup title in 1961.

After James D. Norris died in 1966, the Wirtz family became owners of the franchise. In 2007, the club came under the control of Rocky Wirtz, who is credited with turning around the organization, which had lost fan interest and competitiveness. Under Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times between 2010 and 2015.

List of ice hockey games with highest attendance

This is a list of ice hockey games with the highest attendance on record. All of the games on this list were held in stadiums designed for field sports such as association football, gridiron football, and baseball. Four of the "games" listed were actually doubleheaders, in which a single ticket provided admission to two games held back-to-back. The fixed-roof Ford Field in Detroit hosted one doubleheader and a single game, and another was held at the retractable-roof Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany (with the roof closed for that game); all other games on the list were held in open-air venues. Most of these games were staged as special events, and all but one were played in the 21st century.

Attendance in the 30,000 range was once quite common for major international matches held outdoors in the 1940s and 50s in Moscow's Lenin Stadium. Figures of this type are still common in bandy, a relative of ice hockey played outdoors.

The record for a Stanley Cup playoff game is 28,183, set on April 23, 1996, at the Thunderdome during a Tampa Bay Lightning – Philadelphia Flyers game.A new record was set on December 11, 2010, when the University of Michigan's men's ice hockey team faced cross-state rival Michigan State in an event billed as "The Big Chill at the Big House". The game was played at Michigan's football venue, Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, with a capacity of 109,901, as of the 2010 football season. Ultimately, a crowd announced by UM as 113,411, at that time the largest in the stadium's history (including football), saw the homestanding Wolverines win 5–0. Guinness World Records, using a count of ticketed fans who actually entered the stadium instead of UM's figure of tickets sold, announced a final figure of 104,173.

List of outdoor ice hockey games

Playing hockey games outdoors—in soccer, football and baseball stadiums—is an increasingly popular trend for junior, college, professional and international competitions in the 21st century. The popularity of outdoor games has resulted in attendance records in several leagues, and the current world record total of 104,173 was set at The Big Chill at the Big House, a December 2010 National Collegiate Athletic Association game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.While other indoor sports such as basketball have been able to use outdoor tennis courts and even aircraft carriers for outdoor games, this is rarely possible in ice hockey because a regulation rink is generally much wider and longer than the playing surface available in either of those venues. Ice hockey, however, has been played at Stade Roland Garros, the venue of the French Open in tennis. Staging a Vysshaya liga game on the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has been considered as well. To compensate for the varying weather conditions at outdoor ice hockey games, the teams may switch sides after each half of a period.

NHL Centennial Classic

The NHL Centennial Classic (branded as the Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic for sponsorship reasons) was a regular season outdoor National Hockey League (NHL) game that was held on January 1, 2017. The game featured the Toronto Maple Leafs taking on the Detroit Red Wings at BMO Field in Toronto. Because Scotiabank is a direct competitor of Bank of Montreal, the league renamed the facility Exhibition Stadium (the original name of the site) for this event. This was the first time an NHL outdoor game was played in Toronto.

Announced on March 9, 2016, the game served as a celebration of the centennial season of the Maple Leafs, and the beginning of the NHL's centennial year. It was one of four outdoor regular season games during the 2016–17 NHL season, the others being the 2016 Heritage Classic, 2017 NHL Winter Classic (held on the following day) and the 2017 NHL Stadium Series game. The hosting Maple Leafs pulled out to a 4–1 lead in the third period, only to have the Red Wings score the tying goal with one second remaining in regulation; in overtime, first overall draft pick Auston Matthews scored the game-winning goal, securing a 5–4 victory for the Leafs.

NHL Winter Classic

The NHL Winter Classic is one of three series of regular season outdoor games played in the National Hockey League (NHL), and is distinct from the league's other two series, the NHL Heritage Classic and the NHL Stadium Series. The Winter Classic is annually held on or around New Year's Day, generally in a football or baseball stadium, in an area with a resident NHL team. The first Winter Classic was held in 2008 at the venue then known as Ralph Wilson Stadium (now New Era Field) in Orchard Park, New York, between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins. A total of eleven have been held. The most recent game was played during 2018–19 season at Notre Dame Stadium, with the Boston Bruins defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4–2.

After the success of the Cold War at Michigan State University in 2001 and the 2003 Heritage Classic, the NHL's first regular season outdoor game, the league inaugurated the Winter Classic in 2008. It eventually caught on as an annual tradition for the league, suspending only in 2013 due to 2012–13 NHL lockout. The 2014 game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings set a new NHL attendance record of 105,491. The Winter Classic has been contested only in the United States, while the Heritage Classic has been held exclusively in Canada. The Winter Classic featured only American teams for its first five games, until the Maple Leafs' appearance in 2014.

Along with the NHL All-Star Game, the Winter Classic is considered one of the NHL's premier events; with matchups generally booked to showcase the league's most popular teams and players, the event garners the league its highest attendance and among its highest television ratings. The event is typically promoted as a return to the sport's outdoor roots, meant to evoke memories of pond hockey. Its popularity has led to the scheduling of additional outdoor hockey games, both in the NHL and other leagues worldwide. In May 2014, the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily named the Winter Classic its "Sports Event of the Year," the second time in five years the Classic has won that distinction.

Sports in Pittsburgh

Sports in Pittsburgh have been played dating back to the American Civil War. Baseball, hockey, and the first professional American football game had been played in the city by 1892. Pittsburgh was first known as the "City of Champions" when the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Panthers, and Pittsburgh Steelers won multiple championships in the 1970s. Today, the city has three major professional sports franchises, the Pirates, Steelers, and Penguins; while the University of Pittsburgh Panthers compete in a Division I BCS conference, the highest level of collegiate athletics in the United States, in both football and basketball. Local universities Duquesne and Robert Morris also field Division I teams in men's and women's basketball and Division I FCS teams in football. Robert Morris also fields Division I men's and women's ice hockey teams.

Pittsburgh is once again being called the "City of Champions" as its Steelers and Penguins are recent champions of the NFL and NHL, respectively, in 2009. These accomplishments and others helped Pittsburgh earn the title of "Best Sports City" in 2009 from the Sporting News.

Including the 2008–09 seasons, the Steelers have reached the NFL playoffs in six of the last eight seasons—winning two Super Bowl titles—and the Penguins have reached the NHL playoffs the last four years with back-to-back finals appearances, an Atlantic Division Crown, and a Stanley Cup championship, none of which won at home (the last championship won in Pittsburgh was in 1960 by the Pirates).

The flag of Pittsburgh is colored with black and gold, based on the colors of William Pitt's coat of arms; Pittsburgh is the only city in the United States in which all professional sporting teams share the same colors. The city's first National Hockey League (NHL) franchise, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the first to wear black and gold as their colors. The colors were adopted by founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, in 1933. In 1948, the Pittsburgh baseball Pirates switched their colors from red and blue to black and gold. Pittsburgh's second NHL franchise, the Pittsburgh Penguins, wore blue and white, due to then-general manager Jack Riley's upbringing in Ontario. In 1979, after the Steelers and Pirates had each won their respective league championships, the Penguins altered their color scheme to match, despite objections from the Boston Bruins, who has used the black and gold combination since the 1934-35 NHL season.

In 1975, late Steelers radio broadcaster Myron Cope invented the Terrible Towel, which has become "arguably the best-known fan symbol of any major pro sports team." Cope was one of multiple sports figures born in Pittsburgh and its surrounding area; others include golfer Arnold Palmer, Olympian Kurt Angle, and basketball player Jack Twyman. Pittsburgh is also sometimes called the "Cradle of Quarterbacks" due to the number of prominent players of that position who hail from the area, including NFL greats Jim Kelly, George Blanda, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana.

St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues are a professional ice hockey team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The franchise was founded in 1967 as one of the six teams from the 1967 NHL expansion and is named after the W. C. Handy song "Saint Louis Blues". The Blues play their home games at the 19,150-seat Enterprise Center in downtown St. Louis, which has been their arena since moving from St. Louis Arena in 1994.The Blues have qualified for the playoffs in all but nine of their 52 seasons, appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals four times, and won the Stanley Cup in 2019. Their 42 playoff appearances are the most for any NHL team outside of the Original Six, although the franchise struggled in the postseason throughout much of their history. While they made the Stanley Cup Finals in each of their first three seasons, they were swept each time. With the Blues' victory in their fourth Stanley Cup Final, 49 years after their last appearance and in their 52nd year of existence, they became the final active team from the 1967 expansion to win their first Stanley Cup.

The Blues have a rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks, with both teams having played in the same division since 1970. The San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL are the two minor league affiliates of the Blues.

January 2, 2017 Chicago Blackhawks 1-4 St. Louis Blues Busch Stadium Recap
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