The 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic will be held at T-Mobile Park, the home of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. The event will mark the first outdoor hockey game for the city, which only became an NHL city with the inaugural season of the Kraken in 2021. The home team will face the Vegas Golden Knights on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2024.
Next year’s Winter Classic matches the National Hockey League’s most recent franchises with the Golden Knights playing their second match after their first contest in February 2021, while the Kraken participates in their first regular-season outdoor game in 2024 Winter Classic.
Ron Francis, Seattle Kraken general manager, said that outdoor hockey was at the essence of their game and the way many of their players grew up playing. “We are thrilled to have the chance to showcase this in Seattle,” he added.
Having a capacity of 47,943 for baseball and 30,144 for football, T-Mobile Park has the suitable conditions for the NHL to build the rink and set the stage on the field no matter how the weather is thanks to a retractable roof, but the game is aimed to be played with the roof open.
According to the report on The Seattle Times, beyond the team’s flexibility in making T-Mobile Park available for the lengthy process of building the temporary hockey rink inside, the NHL liked that it would have the ability to only partially close the stadium’s roof directly over the rink if it rains. That would enable them to keep the remainder of the venue in an open-air environment the league believes is crucial to the appeal of its outdoor games.
“If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we’ll be able to slide a roof over so we’ll have an outdoor game, weather protected,” stated Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Kraken.
“We are honored that the NHL has selected the Kraken, in just our second season, to host this amazing event at the home of our friends, the Mariners,” he continued. “I think in some regards these things we hoped would happen, these are the things we dreamed would happen.”
“Those games are definitely fun to be at,” added Golden Knights captain Mark Stone. “You don’t really understand it until you’re actually there. I’ve played in outdoor games before, and the environment at the facility is a lot better than watching it on TV.”
The Winter Classic made its debut in 2008 in Buffalo, and has been organized as an annual outdoor ice hockey game played during the NHL’s regular season on or around New Year’s Day since then.
This year’s Winter Classic matched Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins on January 2, which was watched by 39,243 fans at Fenway Park in Boston.
Tickets sales for next year’s game are expected to begin in Spring 2023.
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