May 26, 2018

Caps to host Winter Classic in 2014?

Caps Celebrating 2011 Winter Classic Victory! (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

With today’s Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philly, many Washington Capitals fans are left wondering when the Classic will come to D.C., after team owner Ted Leonsis mentioned last season that the Caps were “promised” a Classic in the Nation’s Capital.  According to several reports over the last few days, that could come as early at 2014.

The game has been played in football and baseball stadiums to this point, with the football stadiums obviously capable of accomodating more fans.  It would be a truly unique experience to build a temporary outdoor arena on the National Mall, but back in 2010 Leonsis made it perfectly clear that the expense and effort to play hockey’s grandest game between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument would simply be unfeasable.

That leaves the possible venues in Washington, D.C. to one: Nationals Park, on South Capitol street just a few blocks south of the Capitol Building.  Nats Park certainly could be configured for hockey, and has hosted concerts and other events in addition to being home for the Nats.  FedEx Field in Landover, MD is the next closest venue, and while it has a larger capacity than Nats Park, it also lacks any charm or grace.

The other suggestions availble for the Caps to host a Winter Classic happen to be situated in Baltimore.  I find it distasteful than M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park remain on the list of possible venues for the WASHINGTON Capitals to host this game.  I’d rather them not host the event at all than to have it played in Baltimore.  Both Nats Park and FedEx Field are dark on New Year’s Day.  The only way this couldn’t happen is if an agreement over money couldn’t be arranged with the owners of one of those venues.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

As for the opponent, I’d just as well like to see the Caps host Pittsburgh.  They’d be division rivals again due to realignment, and the stakes just aren’t any biggeer than when these two teams face-off.  I’m sure NBC would love to feature another N.Y.-area team in the game, especially with next year’s game expected to pit Detroit against Minnesota, but the Caps-Pens rivalry is just too good to pass up.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


  1. Billy Haddad says:

    Totally agree with you with a lot of points in this article: FedEx Field lacks any charm, and is iconic as RFK Stadium is (was), it’s current state of affairs can be described as “decrepit” at best. The National Mall would be awesome, but as mentioned, the costs would be exorbitant, and how many people could you really fit? It’ll look great on TV, but wouldn’t accommodate enough fans.

    And to Baltimore, and I concur that the Caps’ have a huge fanbase there, but HELL NO. I’m personally still bitter over Angelos’ fight to stop the Expos from relocating to DC in 2004, and after forcing the Nats games off air, so I echo your sentiment: I’d rather not see the Caps in the WC rather than having them in Baltimore.

    • Dave Nichols says:

      thanks for the comment. I didn’t intend to denigrate the city of Baltimore in my comments. i like Baltimore, went to college there, two of my siblings live there. it’s just that Baltimore isn’t Washington. the Capitals should play in Washington, period, as far as I’m concerned.

      • As a diehard Orioles fan, I agree it should be in Baltimore. It would be like asking the Ravens to have hosted the Thanksgiving Classic at a FedEx.

        That being said, I don’t think it would be an issue if the Winter Classic came to OPACY AFTER it was held a DC-based venue.


  1. […] I have posted several stories about Ted Leonsis over the last couple of years.  He has won awards, wrote a successful book, started new companies and the Winter Classic will be coming to DC soon thanks to Ted. […]

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