The National Hockey League announced on Tuesday that the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will feature the Buffalo Sabres hosting the New York Rangers at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2018.
10 years after the inaugural Winter Classic was played at the home of the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, New York, the Sabres will get the chance to host the annual game again, as they hope for a different outcome against the Rangers than they encountered versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Both teams will be facing off in their second Winter Classics. The Sabres hosted the first one on January 1, 2008, as they fell to the Penguins in a 2-1 shootout loss. 71,217 fans showed up to Ralph Wilson Stadium on that New Year’s Day to take in the action.
The Rangers visited the Philadelphia Flyers down at the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, Citizens Bank Park, on January 2, 2012, as they defeated the Flyers by a score of 3-2 in the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic.
NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman said, “The Winter Classic made its debut under snowy Buffalo skies in 2008, and we look forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary of that landmark event, by matching the Sabres with their intrastate rivals, the New York Rangers, in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field.”
He continued, “With New York City as its host, the renewal of our New Year’s tradition will continue to inspire hockey memories for our clubs, our players and our fans.”
Sabres President, Russ Brandon said, “After hosting the first Winter Classic in 2008, we are happy to be able to celebrate the 10-year anniversary by playing in the 2018 game. We look forward to participating in this marquee event and helping to promote the great game of hockey on such a large scale.”
Rangers President, Glen Sather added, “The New York Rangers are once again honored to once again be a part of one of the NHL’s premiere signature events. The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic represents everything that is great about our game. Playing in the Winter Classic and Stadium Series in recent years was a tremendous experience for our organization and we look forward to yet another opportunity to celebrate the game of hockey, with all of our fans, in New York City.”
Since the 1970-1971 NHL season, when the Sabres joined the league, the two cross-state rivals have met 177 times during the regular season. The Sabres hold a 196-172 edge in points. The Sabres have a record of 81-62-34 for 196 points, while the Rangers are 71-76-30 for 172.
The two clubs have squared off two times during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Buffalo has won both series, with the most recent matchup coming during the 2007 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
NHL Players Association Executive Director, Donald Fehr said, “On New Year’s Day we will once again take the game outside for the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The Rangers and Sabres will showcase incredible skill before of tens of thousands of fans at Citi Field, and continue the great tradition of the Winter Classic.”
Bridgestone, the official tire of the NHL and the NHLPA, will return as the sponsor for the Winter Classic for the ninth straight year. Five of the highest ranked NHL regular season games, since 1975, have been the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The company has extended their sponsorship with the league through the 2021 season.
Phil Pacsi, Vice President of Sports/Event Marketing and Training at Bridgestone Americas said, “The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic continues to be the league’s marquee outdoor game each season, as well as a centerpiece in our own strategic, season long sports activation. Throughout our longstanding partnership, this special game has allowed Bridgestone to strengthen its relationship with the passionate, performance-minded hockey fans in North America and around the world, and it is a privilege to help celebrate its 10th anniversary.”
Citi Field has hosted the 2015 World Series, 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and numerous sold-out concerts.
Jeff Wilpon, Chief Operating Officer of the Mets said, “We look forward to providing the hockey fans in our city and state a unique setting to experience this marquee match-up and adding it to the list of unique events we have been able to bring to the ballpark.”
The 2018 event will mark the sixth time it has been held in a baseball stadium. In addition to the 2012 game at Citizens Bank Park, the friendly confines of Wrigley Field held the game in 2009, Fenway Park hosted the 2010 game, Nationals Park in Washington, DC provided the backdrop for the 2015 game and last year, the NHL took their show to St. Louis, Missouri and Busch Stadium.
All the events leading up to, and after the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be covered on NHL Network and NHL.com. NHL Social will also help keep the fans up to date through social media platforms, using the hashtag, #WinterClassic.
The game will be broadcast live on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2018.