Washington Capitals to host 2015 Winter Classic

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Nats Park is likely the choice for a future outdoor game in DC. (USATSI)
Nats Park is likely the choice for a future outdoor game in DC. (USATSI)

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WASHINGTON -- The Winter Classic is coming to Washington, D.C. The Capitals made the expected announcement on Saturday morning, ltetting their fans know the NHL's premier regular-season event will be in the nation's capital on New Year's Day, 2015.

The Caps made the announcement via video in front of their fans at the annual Capitals convention to great applause. Washington has been patiently waiting in line to host the Winter Classic, owner Ted Leonsis the most expectant of such a game.

"The excitement of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic continues to grow, and bringing the 2015 event to the D.C. area will write another chapter in the game's great history of entertainment," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release. "We are looking forward to being in Washington with the Capitals' great fans."

Unfortunately, not much else was revealed; no location for the game, no opponent for the game, the other big things that matter. But that will come in time, for now it's good enough for the fans in Washington to know they will get to see outdoor hockey in their city.

"There will be an opponent announced but the host is really the league," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. "They have work to do with figuring out the opponent and the venue but this is going to be fantastic."

That said, it's not all that difficult to deduce. As awesome as it would be, the game won't be happening on the National Mall and its sprawling expanse of open land situated between the national monuments. The logistics of pulling that off, though, are impossible to imagine, the scope of getting everything that's needed is hard to fathom. So with that out of the way, Nationals Park, the home of baseball's Washington Nationals, is a very clear favorite.

As far as the opponent, the list of teams doesn't figure to be that long. According to CSN Philly, the Flyers and Bruins are the most likely opponents and one would assume it would be the Bruins since the Flyers just hosted the event last time it was played and the Bruins haven't appeared in the game since 2010 at Fenway Park.

For Washington, this has been in the pipeline for a long time. Leonsis stated on Saturday that as soon as he saw the first WInter Classic back in Buffalo, he immediately started emailing the league saying he wanted that event in Washington. It has taken some time but the Caps are finally getting their due.

"We are extremely excited to host the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and bring this great event to the D.C. area," Leonsis said via a statement. "Our great fan base deserves to experience the magnificence of an outdoor game. We are thrilled to once again be part of this great event."

The Capitals you'll recall have played in one Winter Classic already, playing the Penguins in the 2011 contest in Pittsburgh, a game the Capitals won.

 
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