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Notre Dame Athletics | November 18, 2017

2019 NHL Winter Classic set for Notre Dame Stadium

NEW YORK -- The 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will feature the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins outdoors on Jan. 1, 2019 at Notre Dame Stadium, home of the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today.

“The Blackhawks and Bruins, two of our most historic franchises, will be meeting outdoors for the first time at the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Notre Dame Stadium, with its capacity approaching 80,000, will provide an ideal setting for this ground-breaking event and will host the largest live audience ever to witness a game by either of these teams.”

"We are very excited to welcome the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and NHL to Notre Dame Stadium for the 2019 Winter Classic," said University of Notre Dame Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick. "I believe it's only fitting that two of the NHL's legendary Original Six teams will take the ice for the first hockey game in one of America's most iconic athletic facilities. Hosting two franchises with so many connections to Notre Dame also provides a unique opportunity to celebrate our hockey legacy."

The 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will be broadcast live on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports. Additional details including game time, ticket information and other events surrounding the game will be announced in the coming months and available at NHL Social™ will have exclusive coverage on all social platforms using the hashtag NHL #WinterClassic.

The New Year’s Day matchup will be Chicago’s fourth NHL Winter Classic appearance and Boston’s third. The Chicago Blackhawks’ previous appearances in the NHL Winter Classic include the 2009 NHL Winter Classic against the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field (6-4 loss); a road trip to play the Washington Capitals in 2015 at Nationals Park (3-2 loss); and a matchup against the St. Louis Blues in 2017 at Busch Stadium (4-1 loss). The Boston Bruins were the home club in their two NHL Winter Classic games; a 2-1 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park in 2010 and a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in 2016 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

“The Chicago Blackhawks are honored to be participating in this marquee event at an iconic venue like Notre Dame Stadium,” said John McDonough, President & CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. “The University of Notre Dame has strong alumni roots in both Chicago and Boston, and, with an established rivalry between the Blackhawks and Bruins, fans will be treated to an exciting game in a unique atmosphere. We appreciate the invitation to the game and look forward to what will be a great day for both franchises and the National Hockey League.”

“The Boston Bruins are excited to be playing in the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against another storied Original Six franchise, the Chicago Blackhawks,” said Bruins President Cam Neely. “The rich history of Notre Dame Stadium is well-documented, and our team looks forward to playing at such an iconic venue. We hope that by participating in these large scale and unique NHL events we can bring Bruins fans new hockey experiences, and that we can use these opportunities to help grow our great game and attract new fans.”

Notre Dame Stadium has celebrated a new era in 2017 with the completion of the Campus Crossroads Project, which extensively renovated the Stadium while adding three new buildings to the physical plant, creating an unprecedented mix of athletics and academics for campus-wide use. Opened in 1930, Notre Dame Stadium has played host to nine consensus national championship teams, seven Heisman Trophy winners and dozens of All-Americans.

“Notre Dame Stadium is truly one of the iconic sports venues in North America, and will provide a unique and exciting backdrop for the Blackhawks and Bruins players, as well as the tens of thousands of fans,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “We look forward to a great Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day in 2019.”

Both participating NHL teams have ties to the University of Notre Dame. Current Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman, who led Chicago to Stanley Cup Championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015, graduated from the University in 1995. The Blackhawks have also held a portion of their training camp at Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena four times over the past five years (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2017-18).

Additionally, former Irish forward Vinnie Hinostroza (2013-15) is a member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and he has played 56 NHL games in the early stages of his professional career. Current Irish defenseman Dennis Gilbert was a third round selection (91st overall) by Chicago in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. In addition, former Notre Dame player Mike McNeill (1984-88) skated for the Blackhawks during the 1990-91 season, playing in 23 games.

Former Boston Bruins great Dave Poulin spent 10 years as head hockey coach at Notre Dame and also played for the Irish from 1978-82 under Lefty Smith. Current Bruins rookie forward Anders Bjork played three seasons with the Irish, culminating in last season’s run to the 2017 Frozen Four. Bjork earned All-American honors following the 2016-17 season. In addition, Yan Stastny, who skated for the Irish from 2001-03, also played parts of the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons with the Bruins.

The Original Six™ clubs have had 586 regular-season meetings, with Boston holding a 48-point edge over Chicago since the 1926-1927 season (Chicago 242-263-81—565, Boston 265-238-83—613). They have faced off seven times in the Stanley Cup® Playoffs, five of which the Bruins have won. Most recently, the two clubs met in the Stanley Cup® Final in 2013, where Chicago beat Boston in the series 4-2 when Dave Bolland tallied the game-winning goal at 19:01 in the third period of Game 6 — the latest Stanley Cup® game-winner scored in regulation. The two clubs are scheduled to play a home-and-home series on Saturday, March 10, and Sunday, March 11, in Boston and Chicago, respectively, in a pair of matinee games that will be their only meetings of 2017-18.  

The 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® continues the tradition the League established in 2008 of hosting a regular-season outdoor game at the onset of the new year. This game will be the eleventh NHL Winter Classic, the first time that the Blackhawks have faced off against the Bruins in an outdoor game, and the fourth Original Six matchup (2009, 2014, 2016). Bridgestone, the Official Tire of the NHL® and NHLPA, returns as title sponsor for the tenth consecutive year. Over the past decade, the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® has become a tentpole hockey event on the North American sporting calendar, and Bridgestone will be maintaining their partnership with the League through 2021.

This year’s game will mark the second time the NHL Winter Classic® is being held at a college football stadium, with the iconic New Year’s Day game previously held at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor (2014).


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