Winter Classic in Ctown: NHL making up lost game at Kibler Field

By JaySun BriDen
WAC Confessions Senior Writer

What do the University of Michigan and Washington College have in common? Both will be hosting the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

WC will be on the national stage on Jan. 1, 2014 as the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals will be playing on Kibler Field at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium in the NHL Winter Classic as announced on Monday afternoon jointly by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Washington College President P.B. Reese. It will be a home game for the Washington Capitals.

Bettman, who was booed vociferously by the nearly 200 in attendance along with “Gary Must Go!” chants when he made the announcement. Bettman said, “This is great venue to hold the Winter Classic and a beautiful campus. It will be great to hold such a big event in such an intimate setting.”

Capacity for the event will be 7,000 as temporary seats will be brought in for the game. The ice surface and the boards will be put down starting right after Thanksgiving. Usually the Winter Classic is held at stadiums that hold over 35,000. Bettman said by having a second game they could have it in a smaller setting.

In past years the Winter Classic has been held at Ralph Wilson Stadium (Penguins at Sabres – Orchard Park, N.Y. – 2008), Wrigley Field (Red Wings at Blackhawks – Chicago – 2009), Fenway Park (Flyers at Bruins – Boston – 2010), Heinz Field (Capitals at Penguins – Pittsburgh – 2011) and Citizens Bank Park (Rangers at Flyers – Philadelphia – 2012).

The game will be the second part of the Winter Classic doubleheader and will be televised nationally beginning at 8 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network. The day game will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus and will be held at 1 p.m. on NBC.

Jason Bryden, the assistant sports information director at the college and a huge New York Rangers fan said, “This is a dream to get to see the Rangers play in-person in the Winter Classic. It will be great to see my favorite team play in such a huge event.”

A Capitals fan held up a sign saying “Caps To Go To 2-0 In The Winter Classic” in reference to their win in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field in a 3-1 victory over the Penguins.

The Rangers are also undefeated in the Winter Classic as they down the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, on Jan. 2, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

President Reese said, “To have such a prestigious event at the college is a great thing for everybody involved. This will help people learn more about this great institution. It is going to be a great night not just for the College, but for Chestertown.”

Tickets will go on sale sometime in early September and will be available through a variety of outlets, including a day at WC which will be announced this summer.

On New Year’s Night, pro sports will be on center stage here in Chestertown.

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