Big news in the hockey world broke this morning, the Washington Capitals will be hosting the 2015 NHL Winter Classic. Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports that team owner Ted Leonsis will make the official announcement on Saturday morning at Caps Convention.
Washington defeated the Penguins in Pittsburgh 3-1 in the 2011 Winter Classic and were featured on HBO’s 24/7 series leading up to the game.
There are a number of questions leading up to Saturday’s announcement, like “who will the Caps host” and “where will this epic battle take place?” Many speculated that Washington could host the game on the National Mall, although Leonsis squashed those rumors quickly. As Carrera points out, the game will probably be hosted in the most obvious outdoor venue.
The location of the contest and the Capitals’ opponent for it is still unknown, but considering Nationals owner Mark Lerner is a minority partner in Leonsis’s Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Nationals Park in Southeast Washington may be a likely candidate. The Nationals lease the ballpark from the District, though, and would not have exclusive control over such a decision.
While there are several stadium options in the region, including FedEx Field, RFK Stadium or perhaps even Oriole Park at Camden Yards, one unconventional venue was ruled out by Leonsis years ago.
In January 2012, Leonsis wrote on his blog that the Mall would not be a location option for a Classic in Washington.
Wait. Rewind — Camden Yards!!?!??11!?!/!/!?
Though it’s clearly a longshot, Camden Yards would be an amazing venue for the Winter Classic. Could you imagine seeing the warehouse in the background of a hockey game? What would it be like seeing fans walk down Eutaw Street in heavy winter jackets and hockey sweaters? Thank God I’m A Country Boy and the Good Old Hockey Game? C’mon, it’s perfect.
The Capitals have been marketing in Charm City through the Baltimore Hockey Classic, hosting the Winter Classic at OPACY would be an even bigger step forward — and they wouldn’t have to play in our terrible arena.
I fully expect to hear Leonsis announce tomorrow that the game will be played at Nats Park, but Camden Yards could be a game changer for 2015’s Winter Classic.