NHL Winter Classic 2020: 10 things to know about this year's game

Sporting News

The first Winter Classic showdown of the 2020s is set for New Year's Day when the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators will face off on a frozen rink placed inside of the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium.

Everything from pregame festivities to the game itself has been planned and prepared for the 12th edition of the NHL's premier event. In 2008, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres at the first-ever Winter Classic game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.; 12 years later, the fastest sport on ice heads to Dallas for a new era of outdoor hockey.

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From ice preparation to Cotton Bowl Stadium history, here are 10 numbers to know about the 2020 NHL Winter Classic:

1

This year's Winter Classic marks the first outdoor game either the Dallas Stars or Nashville Predators franchises have played in. Eleven franchises have taken part in previous Winter Classics with the Chicago Blackhawks appearing in the most at four.

6

Cotton Bowl Stadium is the sixth football stadium to host a Winter Classic and the third college football stadium — although the Cotton Bowl was home to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and the AFL's Dallas Texans in the early 1960s.

A look at each team's Winter Classic uniforms: Stars | Predators

12

Jan. 1, 2020 marks the 12th Winter Classic game. The event itself spans 13 years: Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins won the first-ever Classic in 2008. There was no Winter Classic game played in 2013 due to a lockout that lost the first half of the 2012-13 season.

Year

Venue

City

Matchup

Attendance

2008

Ralph Wilson Stadium

Orchard Park, NY

Penguins 2, Sabres 1 (SO)

71,217

2009

Wrigley Field

Chicago, IL

Red Wings 6, Blackhawks 4

40,818

2010

Fenway Park

Boston, MA

Flyers 1, Bruins 2 (OT)

38,112

2011

Heinz Field

Pittsburgh, PA

Capitals 3, Penguins 1

68,111

2012

Citizens Bank Park

Philadelphia, PA

Rangers 3, Flyers 2

46,967

2014

Michigan Stadium

Ann Arbor, MI

Maple Leafs 3, Red Wings 2 (SO)

105,491

2015

Nationals Park

Washington, D.C.

Blackhawks 2, Capitals 3

42,832

2016

Gillette Stadium

Foxborough, MA

Canadiens 5, Bruins 1

67,246

2017

Busch Stadium

St. Louis, MO

Blackhawks 1, Blues 4

46,556

2018

Citi Field

Queens, NY

Rangers 3, Sabres 2 (OT)

41,821

2019

Notre Dame Stadium

South Bend, IN

Bruins 4, Blackhawks 2

76,126

2020

Cotton Bowl Stadium

Dallas, TX

Stars vs. Predators

TBD

32.78

The city of Dallas lies on the latitude line of 32.78, making Wednesday's contest the southernmost regular-season outdoor NHL game ever. Previously, Washington D.C., was the furthest south that a Winter Classic was played — at a latitude line of 38.89 for a matchup between the Blackhawks and Capitals in 2015.

MORE: 10 things to do in Dallas for the Winter Classic

35.3

The average temperature at puck drop in previous Winter Classic's has been 35.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Wednesday's forecast for Dallas includes a low of 37 and high of 56, according to accuweather.com. Pittsburgh's turn to host the event in 2011 saw a "toasty" 51.7-degree day, meaning Dallas could be the warmest Winter Classic to date.

In 2014, fans in Ann Arbor, Mich. — all 105,491 of them — experienced the coldest temp at puck drop of 13 degrees.

53

Outdoor hockey rinks require a mobile refrigeration unit to maintain the ice rink and the world's largest unit was built specifically for the NHL's outdoor games. It measures 53 feet in length, equivalent to one-fourth the length of an NHL rink's surface.

1930

Cotton Bowl Stadium first opened its doors in 1930 with about half as many seats as it has today. Now its capacity is set at 92,100 after multiple rounds seating expansions over the last 89 years.

3,000

How does all of that water freeze in Dallas? Three thousand gallons of coolant, that's how. That's nearly 40 bathtubs filled to the brim or seven and a half hot tubs to ensure the ice remains conditioned well enough to skate on all afternoon on Jan. 1.

20,000

Nearly 17,000 more gallons of water are required to create the ice surface itself at Cotton Bowl Stadium for the Stars vs. Predators game — and that only creates a two-inch deep surface.

1,492,877

Nearly a million and a half fans have been in attendance for the NHL's 28 regular-season outdoor games, an average of 53,317 per game been each season's Winter Classic and assorted Stadium Series games. With ticket sales north of 84,000 for this year's game, that total will eclipse the 1.5 million mark.

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