KDKA.com is reporting that the National Hockey League will announce that the 2011 Winter Classic will be held in Pittsburgh, PA at Heinz Field, while not yet officially confirmed the game would be played on January 1, 2011. The outdoor hockey game, which has become an outstanding success for the NHL, will feature the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Washington Capitals. KDKA also reports that tickets for the game will be sold through NHLcom, and not the Heinz Field box office. It seems the NHL loves the Sidney Crosby versus Alexander Ovechkin match up.
The two teams selected to play in the 2011 Winter Classic reaveal as much about the savvy marketing skills of the NHL as well as a desire for quality hockey. The game will pit two of the leagues biggest superstars against each other on a nationally televised game. However, the nice part about choosing the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals is that the star list does not end with Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jordan Staal, Mike Green, Marc-Andre Fleury, Alexander Semin, and a host of other star hockey players will be on display as well. While the outcome of the game could possibly have some playoff implications, the focus will be with hockey being played outdoors. Getting the game back to its roots has proven to be a very entertaining and profitable affair, as jerseys and other Winter Classic memorabilia will be for sale.
The events surrounding the Winter Classic, which coincides with New Year’s Day, will provide the Pittsburgh Area with a number of festivities some NHL related and some not. The event will also serve as a chance for the city to promote itself, and the downtown area. Since the 2010-2011 season is the first year the Pittsburgh Penguins will call the Consol Energy Center home, giving them a chance to host the outdoor Winter Classic is a bit puzzling as well, as it will likely cost them a home game in the new arena. Still, the NHL has given hockey fans across North America and the world to focus on Pittsburgh, PA for at least a few hours.Since the Penguins have previously played in the Winter Classic against the Buffalo Sabres, with Crosby scoring the game winning goal in a shootout, the edge for a victory has to go to them. However, one factor jumps out: It is a LONG way to January 1, 2011 and anything can happen in the next six months.