The St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks are eager to take their historic rivalry outdoors.
Blues, Blackhawks Share Enthusiasm for 2017 Winter Classic
At Busch Stadium on Tuesday morning, the NHL held a press conference regarding the 2017 Winter Classic to discuss various events building up to what should be an iconic moment for the city of St. Louis.
Blues president Chris Zimmerman, Blues majority owner Tom Stillman, Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were among those who spoke at the press conference as well as St. Louis Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
Zimmerman announced that the Blackhawks and Blues alumni game will take place on December 31st, with lineups to be announced in the future. He also revealed that the team would host the Heartland of Hockey Tournament, which invites the top youth teams in the Midwest to compete against one another. A FanFest is also scheduled to take place, including street hockey and other opportunities for kids and adults alike to learn more about the sport.
Stillman first expressed his gratitude to everyone involved in the decision-making process that led to his team’s selection, especially Bettman.
“We would not be hosting a Winter Classic in St. Louis without Gary Bettman’s support.”
He then credited the Blues faithful, who have been nothing but encouraging since Stillman became Chairman and Governor of the team on May 9, 2012.
“Thank you Blues fans. This would not be happening without your support over the years.”
McDonough acknowledged how special this game will be for the two long-standing franchises:
“Generations of fans will remember this game forever.”
He admitted that whenever the Blackhawks have been offered a chance to participate in outdoor games, he’s been quick to jump on it:
“I think with these mega-events, our fans embrace them and so do we.”
This year’s Winter Classic will mark Chicago’s fifth outdoor game in seven years; this is St. Louis’ first in history. However, the Blackhawks haven’t fared as well as they do indoors, which McDonough made sure to note:
“Let the record show that we are 1-3. We are going to need the points.”
DeWitt III admitted that he would bug Stillman and NHL officials like Bettman, repeatedly trying to convince them that Busch Stadium is “more than ready” to host a Winter Classic. He then commended the Blues for maintaining such a tight-knit partnership between the two organizations:
“We look forward to showcasing our iconic ballpark as well as the great relationship that the Blues and Cardinals have built over the years.”
Steve Stenger, the County Executive of St. Louis, took the podium to disclose that the city is working on a new state-of-the art practice rink for the Blues that will also serve as a home to youth hockey in Creve Coeur Park.
What comes next from the two teams will most likely be the announcement of the uniforms. The Blues revealed their logo for the Winter Classic this morning, which showcases a nod to their original emblem:
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) August 9, 2016
The Blackhawks did the same, tweeting a photo of this promotional banner:
Tuesday’s press conference provided a closer look at what we can expect from the 2017 Winter Classic festivities, leaving fans of both teams wondering the same question:
Is it January yet?