|Date||January 1, 2018|
|City||New York City, New York|
The 2018 NHL Winter Classic was a regular season outdoor National Hockey League (NHL) game that took place on January 1, 2018. The game featured the Buffalo Sabres taking on the New York Rangers at Citi Field in the New York City borough of Queens, home of Major League Baseball's New York Mets. This was the second Winter Classic for each team, following the Rangers' appearance in the 2012 event and the Sabres' in 2008. It was also the Rangers' fourth outdoor game, having also appeared in the 2014 Stadium Series.
On March 15, 2017, Arthur Staple of Newsday reported that the game had been awarded to the New York Rangers. The Rangers originally had planned to play at Blaik Field at Michie Stadium on the campus of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York but were unable to come up with an agreement to use that facility in time. Yankee Stadium, which hosted the Rangers' games in the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, was ruled out for the Winter Classic because it hosts the Pinstripe Bowl a week before the event. Instead, the Rangers reportedly reached an agreement with Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team, to host the event. The same article identified the Buffalo Sabres as the Rangers' opponent. The Sabres were also in negotiations to host the event, both because it marked ten years since the inaugural Winter Classic and because the 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships had already scheduled an outdoor game at New Era Field for late December 2017, which would have allowed the outdoor ice surface to be used for both that and the Winter Classic.
On May 10, 2017, commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced that the 2018 Winter Classic would be played at Citi Field, and feature the New York Rangers against the Buffalo Sabres. In order to maintain the tax-exempt status of the Rangers' home arena, Madison Square Garden, the Rangers are designated as the away team for this game as a legal fiction. The tax exemption stipulates that it only applies if the Rangers do not "cease playing" home games at MSG, generally interpreted as playing any "home" game outside of MSG. Hence, the Rangers' Stadium Series games in 2014 were also subject to this fiction, and all games that the Rangers play at neutral sites (such as the 2011 NHL Premiere) have likewise listed the Rangers as the away team.
- ↑ Brooks, Larry (October 9, 2016). "NHL exploring West Point for possible Rangers outdoor game". New York Post. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
- ↑ Staple, Arthur. "2018 NHL Winter Classic likely to be held at Citi Field with Rangers vs. Sabres, sources say", Newsday, March 15, 2017. Retrieved on March 15, 2017.
- ↑ Hoppe, Bille (October 14, 2014). Gary Bettman hints Sabres could host another outdoor game. Olean Times Herald. Retrieved on October 24, 2014.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Sabres to play Rangers in 2018 Winter Classic. Vox Media. Retrieved on 12 May 2017.
- ↑ "Rangers on Road in the Bronx? Money May Be Why", The New York Times, January 25, 2014. Retrieved on January 3, 2017.
- ↑ Benjamin, Cody. "Sabres 'hosting' 2018 Winter Classic vs. Rangers reportedly saves MSG $40M", May 12, 2017. Retrieved on May 15, 2017.
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