Whatayaknow about the NHL Winter Classic, other than the Seattle Kraken will be hosting the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday?
Here are eight tantalizing tidbits with some images from the rink at T-Mobile Park, with thanks to my press box pal Glenn Dreyfuss for some photographic assistance.
In their third season, the Kraken will become the youngest NHL franchise to compete in an outdoor game, eclipsing the Golden Knights, who lost outside 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in 2021 in their fourth season.
That game was not a New Year’s Winter Classic. It was one of two games played as part of something called the “NHL Outdoor at Lake Tahoe” on February 21st, 2021.
Rink preparation at T-Mobile Park on Thursday.
The first outdoor game between NHL teams took place on September 27, 1991, with the Los Angeles Kings beating the New York Rangers 5-2 in a preseason match at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The rink was built over the parking lot.
A closer view of the crew adding a layer of water at T-Mobile Park.
Kraken forward and Spokane native Kailer Yamamoto is set to become the 68th different NHL player to dress for an outdoor game in his birth state or province, while Kraken center Matty Beniers will be the sixth reigning Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year) winner to skate in an outdoor game.
The massive electronic sign in centerfield at T-Mobile Park.
Had he not been on injured reserve, Kraken center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare would likely have played in his 5th NHL outdoor game, the most on the team. Instead, it looks like winger Andre Burakovsky, just back from injury, will tie Bellemare by playing in his 4th outdoor game.
A view of the seats behind home plate, and the Mariners press box.
A total of 13 Washington state natives have dressed in at least one NHL game (regular season or playoffs), including Yamamoto and Stanley Cup winners Wayne Hicks, Tyler Johnson and T.J. Oshie.
(Not an outdoor hockey fact. That’s all games.)
A long view of the Kraken’s outdoor home rink at T-Mobile Park.
The first New Year’s NHL Winter Classic was played on January 1st, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, New York and was won 2-1 by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Sabres with Sidney Crosby scoring the game winner in a shoot-out. A steady snow fell during much of the game, adding to the appeal, and giving the stadium a snow globe effect.
Oddly enough, 25 months later, Crosby would score an even bigger high profile goal on netminder Ryan Miller, when Canada beat Team USA in overtime for the Gold Medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The third base dugout at T-Mobile Park.
The 2003 NHL Heritage Classic on November 22nd of that year was the first regular season NHL game played outdoors and it was done so in sub-freezing temperatures in Edmonton, Alberta. In fact, the temperature was below zero (f) and Montreal goalie Jose Theodore wore a winter cap over the top of his mask. The Canadiens beat the Oilers 4-3.
The wide view.
The Chicago Blackhawks and PIttsburgh Penguins have played in the most NHL outdoor games. That would be six each. Oddly enough, they’re not on top of the leader board in terms of wins. That would be the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins with four victories each.
The Blackhawks are 1-and-5, the Penguins 2-3-and-1, the Rangers 4-and-0, and the Bruins 4-and-1.
The Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Florida Panthers are the three teams (besides the Kraken) never to have played in an outdoor game.
A view to the outfield during early work on Wednesday.
— Kraken Win OT Thriller 2-1 Over Philly, Extend Point Streak
— Interviewing young Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane ahead of the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field …