Earlier this year, the NHL announced that the Washington Capitals would be getting the Winter Classic on New Years Day. A bit later the league announced that the Washington Capitals would be playing against the Chicago Blackhawks.
At this point, the league was making good progress on announcing what they could take care of. Where (city), when and who have been taken care of. There is another part to the where that still has not been decided and this is beginning to worry some.
Where is the outdoor hockey game going to be played? There were a couple of options on the table for the Capitals and the D.C. area. Fedex Field, Nationals Park, and the National Mall are all being considered. There are also places in the Baltimore area that could possibly work as well, both Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium (home of the Ravens) are possibilities as well.
As of right now both FedEx Field and M&T Bank Stadium are out. They both are hosting home games on December 28th, and the fields need a minimum of a week to get the ice field ready. With that in mind, Camden Yards and Nationals Park both hold less than their respective NFL stadiums partners. How much about 25,000 less in Baltimore and almost 28,000 in D.C.
As far as the National Mall as a location, there are events that are pulling out of there and moving away. Construction would be needed, and the amount of work that needs to be done there is just not worth it, at this point, for the Winter Classic.
With the preseason less than 6 weeks away, time is definitely not on their side, especially when events like this take 6 months to a year to plan. Tickets also need to be sold so only having the teams and date don’t help either. Someone needs to make this decision and it needs to be done fast.
Announcements for the Winter Classic both on the D.C. webpage and the Nationals webpage are nonexistent at this point. The D.C. area may have to suck it up and deal with a lower attendance and make the site of the Winter Classic that of the Nationals Park.