Earlier today, it was announced the next edition of the NHL Winter Classic, the league's premier outdoor game, would be held at Chicago's iconic Wrigley Field, with the St. Louis Blues playing visitor to their longtime divisional rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues and Hawks have battled outdoors before; namely in 2017 at Busch Stadium, home of MLB's St. Louis Cardinals, a game which the Blues won 3-1.
The Blues also have a better all-time outdoor record than the Hawks, winning the aforementioned contest and the 2022 edition against Central rival Minnesota at the Minnesota Twins' Target Field, 6-4. Chicago, meanwhile, has played in 4 outdoor contests but has lost them all.
The Winter Classic, first held in 2008 in Buffalo between the Sabres and Penguins, has been a modern NHL staple that also has retained the highest viewership of any regular season NHL game, until this past January's edition, a 3-0 snoozer by Seattle over defending Cup champion Vegas. But that's not the only important thing about this upcoming game.
From a regular viewpoint, the Blues and Blackhawks are like any other NHL rivalry. But if one lives in either city or somewhere near it, it becomes the yearly calendar marking game every season. There exists a whole rivalry between the cities themselves, not just in hockey. This will almost certainly be a sellout crowd come next January, and no diehard NHL fan would have it any other way.
And if you didn't already see it at the beginning, the game is being held at arguably one of North America's most iconic sports venues. Take the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry out of your mind and it's hard to argue Wrigley Field is not an immortal stadium that has stood the test of time.
It couldn't be a better place to host one of the NHL's premier rivalries. The layout of Wrigley, specifically for this game, is special too, where it will offer new hockey fans to see the great ballpark in a new fascinating light and for lifelong Chicagoans to experience something new in an already known place. This will be the perfect way to kick off 2025!