The Winter Classic is the premier NHL regular season event, always garnering the most publicity and providing a break from the never-ending drone of college football bowl games on New Years Day. The Blues have been trying to get the event since 2008, and new ownership has recently expressed their interest in either hosting or playing in a future Classic.
Securing The Bid:
Although Blues ownership have continually expressed their desire to host a Winter Classic – preferably against division rival Chicago – within the next few seasons. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in January, many involved with the Blues organization believe that St. Louis is an optimal location for the Classic. Blues TV Analyst Darren Pan thanks that the Blues are definitely on the short list for potential locations, “St. Louis could easily host a Winter Classic,” he said. “In fact, I would call St. Louis one of the No. 1 possibilities … the passion for hockey … that’s what it’s all about. St. Louis is a franchise, like Pittsburgh, that came (into the NHL) in 1967 and there’s no reason in the world why St. Louis can’t host a Winter Classic. I think it’s a natural fit.” But, even if St. Louis was able to secure a future Winter Classic, where and how would it take place?
Many believe that St. Louis is a possible Winter Classic location because of Busch Stadium. It is a historic venue which easily holds 45,000 fans, and would continue the trend of using baseball parks (Fenway, Wrigley) for the Classic. Further, Blues owners have argued that St. Louis is a city that has the accommodations to hold fans traveling from around the US. It has a downtown area filled with hotels and restaurants, and an new international airport. Although it is not considered a big market, St. Louis has the ability to draw in large crowds and put on a good show. The only major drawback could be the unpredictable weather, but with an average temperature in the high 30s during December, it shouldn’t be an issue in keeping the ice frozen.
Even though the Blues are not a historic franchise – not an original six team, nor do they have a Stanley Cup Title – St. Louis is an exceptional hockey town and would be a great fit for the 2014 or another future Winter Classic.