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How About a Military Theme for the 2015 Winter Classic?
This time, no Heinz. Photo by Caps Outsider.
New Year’s Day means one thing for hockey fans: the annual Winter Classic. The inaugural game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres took place in 2008, with the Sabres having the hometown advantage. Since then, the event has been held each year except for in 2012 due to the NHL lockout.
The Capitals were lucky enough to be part of the tradition in 2011 when they visited Heinz field in Pittsburgh. As you may remember, the Capitals won the very wet game, 3-1 as Eric Fehr played the hero with two goals. That game was delayed due to rain and to this day is the only Winter Classic game to be delayed due to weather, although two of the five games still played while it snowed, including Wednesday’s game in Ann Arbor. They had additional timeouts to shovel the snow off the ice during the game as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2, in a shootout.
Earlier this season, it was announced that the Capitals will have the honor to host the 2015 NHL Winter Classic. The game will most likely be played at Nationals BPark, the home of the Washington Nationals. The rumored teams that have been in the conversation to spend their New Year’s Eve in Washington are the Philadelphia Flyers, the Boston Bruins, and the Montreal Canadians. We will have to wait for the decision of the NHL for the visiting team.
Nationals Park was constructed in 2006 and first opened in 2008, so this could be one of the newer venues to host a game. Established in 1974, the Caps will also be one of the newer NHL teams to host a game. With that in mind, this even might have to be called the Winter “Classic.”
With the 2015 event being hosted in the nation’s capital, this could be the first military-themed Winter Classic. Nationals Park is the same subway stop as the Navy Yard where the Chief of Navy Operations lives, as well as a number of historic sites. If the Capitals and the NHL decide to organize the festivities that way, they could easily set up a pre-game military ceremony and honor veterans in attendance. Add in Navy tactical jets flying over after the national anthem (hopefully sung by Master sergeants Caleb Green and Bob McDonald) and some fireworks and Caps will bring in 2015 with style.
We don’t know the opponent or the theme of the 2015 Winter Classic, but we do know the Capitals will have the pleasure of hosting one of the most exciting hockey events of the year. Whoever the Capitals end up playing or the theme they pick, the game will still be one to look forward to attending as fans.