Winter Classic

At the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas Texas, the Dallas Stars took on the Nashville Predators on New Years Day. Dallas went to sleep that night winners after scoring four unanswered points. The tradition of the Winter Classic was first played January 1, 2008, and since 13 teams have participated.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings Set a Record

In 2014, 105,491 people attended the Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings. Before this game, the Winter Classic featured only American teams. So when Toronto made their appearance, attendance skyrocketed.

Most Popular Teams and Players

Traditionally, this event is used to showcase the NHL’s most popular teams and players. And because of this, it is has the league’s highest attendance and television ratings.

Early Years

The Buffalo Sabres played the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first ever Winter Classic. This debut resulted in a then-NHL-record of attendance. In 2009, the Red Wings played the Blackhawks, which created another record for highest American TV ratings of any hockey game. And in the third Winter Classic, Boston beat Philadelphia 2-1, making Boston the first home team to win the Classic.

There’s Weather Outdoors

Since the game is played outdoors, mostly in a football or baseball stadium, weather has affected the game. In 2011 and 2012, the game was delayed due to rain and other weather. Plus, sun or win has given advantage to one team, so the NHL has modified the third period and overtime. Sometimes, at the midway point, the teams switch directions, or the teams may switch ends in the sudden-death of overtime. These modifications happened in 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2018.


Not every team has had a chance to appear in the 11 Winter Classics. In 2013, the NHL lockout caused the game to be rescheduled for 2014.

Chicago Blackhawks4201904
Boston Bruins3201921
New York Rangers2201820
Washington Capitals2201520
Detroit Red Wings2201411
Pittsburgh Penguins2201111
Buffalo Sabres2201802
Philly Flyers2201202
Montreal Canadiens1201610
St. Louis Blues1201710
Toronto Maple Leafs1201410
Dallas Stars1202010
Nashville Predators1202001

2021 Winter Classic

Minnesota is scheduled to appear in the 2021 Winter Classic.

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