ST. LOUIS (AP) — Outdoor hockey is coming to St. Louis.
The NHL said Wednesday night before the St. Louis Blues’ game against the Chicago Blackhawks that the teams will play in the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on Monday, Jan. 2.
Blues chairman Tom Stillman says he initially expected the Blues to host a Stadium Series game, but that changed when the NFL’s Rams left for Los Angeles.
“I can tell you for a fact Gary (Bettman, the NHL’s commissioner), in making this decision, had the situation in St. Louis and what has happened over the last few months in mind,” Stillman said. “It changed late in the game and I think a lot of it had to do with Gary’s thoughts about St. Louis.”
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St. Louis will be the eighth franchise to host the Winter Classic. The game is usually held on Jan. 1, but the league is pushing it back a day as it did in 2012 to avoid going head-to-head with the NFL.
It will be the first outdoor game in Blues history. The Blackhawks will be playing in their third Winter Classic and fifth outdoor game.
Also Wednesday, the NHL said Toronto will host Detroit in the Centennial Classic on Jan. 1 at BMO Field to celebrate the league’s 100th anniversary, and Pittsburgh will host Philadelphia on Feb. 18 at Heinz Field in the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. In another outdoor game, Winnipeg will host Edmonton in the Heritage Classic on Oct. 23 at Investors Group Field.