Capitals, Blackhawks finally book Winter Classic at Nationals Park

Capitals, Blackhawks finally book Winter Classic at Nationals Park

The Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks will face each other at Nationals Park in Washington DC on Jan. 1, 2015, ending months of speculation that the NHL wouldn’t settle for the most obvious, tepid choice..

The Washington Post cited three sources on Saturday who confirmed the League and the Washington Nationals finally closed their deal. Several other venues in the DC region were considered, from football stadiums in Maryland to RFK Stadium in DC to the National Mall, which would have made up for its lack of capacity with insanely amazing aesthetics.

Instead, it’s a Winter Classic in a relatively new baseball stadium with fabricated character. And we just had one of those two years ago.

From the Post:

FedEx Field had been ruled out, according to a person familiar with the discussions, because a Dec. 28 Redskins would leave insufficient time to build a rink. M&T Bank Stadium is also set to host an NFL game that day.

While Nationals Park was built and is owned by the District of Columbia, the Nationals control the use of the stadium under its lease with the city — meaning the NHL had to come to terms with owner Ted Lerner and his deputies.

The Lerner family has ties to both teams; Ted’s son Mark is a minority owner with Monumental Sports, which owns the Capitals.

Look, it’s a fine ballpark. It’ll be a fun event. Any Winter Classic with Ben’s Chili Bowl available is one worth attending. And hey, maybe Obama finds his way there to see his Blackhawks and his first ever NHL game.

But RFK Stadium would have been a more inspired choice. Ditto Camden Yards, despite the protests of DC locals. There are Winter Classics where the even is in a building and ones in which the building is the event. And now we know into which category to place DC’s Classic.