Friday, September 20, 2013

Wild Lose Out on 2015 Winter Classic

In the past 24 hours, multiple sources have confirmed that the 2015 NHL Winter Classic will be hosted by the Washington Capitals. The announcement is expected to be made official tomorrow at 9 AM at the Capitals fan convention by Washington owner Ted Leonsis.

If you had any doubt about the Capitals getting the event for 2015, Wild owner Craig Leipold sealed the deal when he revealed that Minnesota lost out on the grand event.

The Winter Classic has been a grand event for the NHL since its inception in 2008 when Pittsburgh triumphed over host Buffalo in a snowy, but perfect game. Since then, host cities have included: Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia (you see a pattern here?). This year the game is slated to be played in Ann Arbor, Michigan as the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Detroit Red Wings.

Also this year, the NHL is unveiling its new Stadium Series, featuring games in Yankee Stadium (New York), Soldier Field (Chicago), and Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles). The series is built off the overwhelming success of the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic (the WC version for Canadian teams), and gives cities that want to host an outdoor game a chance to do so. However, it has become clear that the Wild will not take part in the Stadium Series and will hold out for a Winter Classic.

To be fair here, the Capitals were "promised" a Winter Classic back in 2010. They would have been the host city this year, had the lockout not pushed the game in Ann Arbor back a year. Its not surprising that they received the game, but it still is painful for us Minnesotans nonetheless.

The Wild have been told in the past they need to have more on ice success and more favorable players to gain a Winter Classic. Well, good news is, they bagged the two top free agents last summer (Parise, Suter), traded for another star at the deadline (Pominville), have some good up and coming kids that can become stars in this league (Brodin, Coyle, Granlund, etc.), and they are favorites to land another prized free agent next summer (Vanek).

Add all that up, and Minnesota has to be favorites for the 2016 Winter Classic. They certainly will make a strong case for it.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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