NEW YORK (December 5, 2014) – With just under four weeks until the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the countdown to the much-anticipated outdoor match-up between the Chicago Blackhawks® and Washington Capitals® on New Year’s Day has begun.
Hockey’s biggest stars – including Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane – will take center stage as the Blackhawks and Capitals meet in Washington, D.C. at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals. The event will be broadcast live nationally on NBC in the United States and on CBC and TVA in Canada on 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 1.
Events and activities leading up to the annual outdoor hockey celebration will include:
The Rink Build at Nationals Park
The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® Ice Plant presented by York – the custom-built 53-foot, 300-ton capacity truck that houses the specialized equipment used to make the ice for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and the world’s largest mobile rink refrigeration unit – will depart from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Dec. 10 and arrive at Nationals Park on Dec. 15, when the rink build officially will begin. Approximately 61,000 square feet of armor decking will be installed to protect the field; and then the ice pans and dasher boards are scheduled to be installed. When ice-making begins, workers will create a nearly two-inch thick ice surface at Nationals Park ready for the best hockey players in the world to play on. Fans can follow the entire rink-build process through interactive features and extensive coverage, including the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® time lapse video on NHL.com and NHL Network.
EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic™
The new original series, produced in partnership between premium TV network EPIX and the NHL, will premiere on Dec. 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The special series, produced by 52-time Emmy award winner Ross Greenburg, will bring viewers onto the ice and behind-the-scenes with the Blackhawks and the Capitals as they prepare for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. For more information on the four-episode weekly series, including air dates and times, visit epix.com/NHL.
In The Kitchen with Duff Goldman
Food Network star – and lifelong hockey fan – Duff Goldman will be sharing exclusive Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic-themed content at NHL.com during the countdown to New Year’s Day game. In addition, the famed chef and owner of Charm City Cakes will also bring something sweet to Spectator Plaza presented by GEICO on Jan. 1.
NHL Legacy Event
Later today, Friday, Dec. 5, as part of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Legacy Initiative, the NHL and Capitals will unveil a refurbished street hockey rink in Southeast Washington, D.C. Watkins Rush Rink, located at the Watkins Elementary School and Recreation Center, was formerly a basketball court, but due to high demand for a places to play hockey in the area it will be converted into a street hockey rink.
Team Practices at Nationals Park
The Blackhawks and the Capitals will take to the ice for the first time at Nationals Park for team practices and family skates on Dec. 31. NHL Network™ and NHL.com will provide full coverage of the team skates throughout the day.
Spectator Plaza presented by GEICO
On game day, the Spectator Plaza presented by GEICO, a free fan festival with hockey-themed attractions, music and fun for all ages, will be held at the Fairgrounds outside the Center Field Gate at Nationals Park, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET. Additional information on the Spectator Plaza presented by GEICO and its many attractions will follow in the coming days.
Now an established tradition on the New Year’s Day sports calendar, the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® continues to appeal to fans everywhere. The 2014 event at Michigan Stadium drew 105,491 fans, an all-time attendance record for an NHL game. Additionally, NBC’s average broadcast audience for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic tied as the largest for an NHL regular-season game in the U.S. in nearly four decades. Similarly, the event generated the largest audience ever for a non-playoff NHL game in Canadian broadcast history.
NHL.com and NHL Network will deliver to fans comprehensive coverage of both teams as the event approaches. Additionally, through the type of access only the NHL can provide, fans will see all the information, stories, exclusive reporting and video they need to prepare for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. For the latest on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, fans should follow the NHL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and join the conversation by using the official hashtag #WinterClassic.
The official 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® VIP ticket and hospitality packages are available exclusively from PrimeSport, the Official Fan Travel and Hospitality Package Partner of the NHL®. Packages include a game ticket, Official PrimeSport Pregame Party access, hotel accommodations, and more. For more information, please visit www.PrimeSport.com.
Washington, D.C. is known for being a destination rich in stirring monuments and free, world-class museums. Find hundreds of free (and almost free) things to do, as well as restaurants, neighborhood guides, and suggested itineraries on www.Washington.org. Visitors in search of insider tips and seasonal specials should check out www.DCcool.com. As supporters of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, hotel members of Destination DC, the official tourism and marketing office for Washington, D.C. have created 40+ seasonal hotel packages on a securing booking platform, accessible on Washington.org.
2015 BRIDGESTONE NHL WINTER CLASSIC LEGACY INITIATIVE POWERED BY CONSTELLATION
Members of D.C. Parks & Recreation and D.C. Public Schools Unveil Community Improvements
NEW YORK (December 5, 2014) – The National Hockey League® and Washington Capitals refurbished ‘Watkins Rush Rink,’ a street hockey rink at the Watkins Elementary School and Recreation Center in Southeast Washington, D.C. as part of the NHL’s Legacy Initiative, an on-going philanthropic endeavor in which the League, the local Club, and League partners support community organizations in the host city of an NHL event. Thanks to the generous support of NHL partners Bridgestone, Franklin, Constellation, Pepco, ECORE International, and CleanRiver Recycling Solutions, as well as local support from D.C. Parks & Recreation and D.C. Public Schools, the legacy initiative invested more than $115,000 into the community. Contributions include:
· Brand new Sport Court
· New team benches
· Rubber matting surrounding the rink made from 170 recycled tires
· Repaired netting
· Repaired boards
· Updated energy efficient lighting
· New goalie nets
· New recycle bin receptacles
· New street hockey equipment
In addition to what was donated to ‘Watkins Rush Rink,’ street hockey development and training was provided by the Washington Capitals for 23 physical education teachers in 21 D.C. public schools to implement the sport into their programming, and to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for youth through hockey. All of these schools received brand new street hockey equipment including sticks, balls, nets, and goalie pads, which will benefit more than 8,000 local students. Twelve lucky Watkins Elementary School students were the first to use the new street hockey rink, alongside Washington Capitals alumni Sylvain Cote, Rod Langway, and Alan May.
“While the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be memorable in a host of ways, it is a priority for the National Hockey League that the impact of this outstanding event lasts long after the game concludes,” National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “By refurbishing Watkins Rush Rink, we hope to provide a source of fun and fitness to generations of youngsters who want to enjoy street hockey – while also supporting our commitment to environmentally friendly initiatives.”
“The Winter Classic is a fabulous showcase and celebration of hockey, and our partnership in the NHL’s Legacy program will have a lasting impact on the Southeast D.C. community for years to come through the refurbishment of the Watkins Rush Rink,” said Ted Leonsis, founder and chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. “We have participated in and witnessed a tremendous growth in local amateur hockey during the last decade, and this street hockey opportunity will introduce even more boys and girls to the sport. The Winter Classic, while a New Year’s Day spectacle, is more than just one game; it’s an event that impacts our team, our fans and our city. It’s an exciting time and opportunity for our organization and community.”
“DPR is appreciative of the gift of the equipment and renovations to the Watkins Rush Rink from the NHL and the Washington Capitals,” said Dr. Sharia Shanklin, acting director, D.C. Department of Parks & Recreation. “These organizations reached out to DPR so they could give back to this community and to help DPR bolster and expand our sports’ programs and opportunities for youth to participate in both street and ice hockey. These improvements will help spread the “Rock the Red” spirit across the District at the Winter Classic at Nationals Park on January 1, 2015 but also here in our neighborhood on a daily basis.”