Blackhawks react to hosting 2025 Winter Classic: ‘There’s nothing quite like it’

Blackhawks react to hosting 2025 Winter Classic: ‘There’s nothing quite like it’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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The Chicago Blackhawks will host the 2025 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, where they will square off with the St. Louis Blues, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago.

The news hasn’t been made official yet, but the announcement is expected to come on Wednesday. The players found out the way everyone else did.

“I hadn’t heard anything about it until this morning,” Jason Dickinson said. “But that’s unbelievable. I got to play in the one in Dallas against Nashville and there’s nothing quite like it. You feel like a kid again playing hockey. I think in Dallas it was like 100,000 people were there, so it’s just a whole different feel. It’s unbelievable, I can’t really describe it to the guys and the opportunity that’s there.

“But if it is true … it will be very special. And Wrigley obviously, a very storied stadium, what an incredible place to do it at.”

Dickinson was a member of the Stars when they hosted the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl vs. Nashville. This will be his second career appearance in an outdoor game.

The conditions for that game were great despite a little scare in the days leading up.

“I’ll say in the Dallas one, the day-before practice, the ice was garbage,” Dickinson said. “It was horrible. All of us were worried: ‘This is going to be a very simple game. You’ll just chip and chase. You’re not going to be able to make very many plays because the puck is not going to come with you.’ That next day, the ice was crisp, it was perfect. There was nothing to complain about. So you didn’t have to make adjustments. You could play it as if it was any other game.

“The problem is when it gets really sunny and humid, the ice gets sticky and it doesn’t slide the same, so you do have to be a little more cautious at times. But we’ve got some great ice-makers in the league that take great pride in what they do, and they try to give us the best product out there.”

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson didn’t participate in an outdoor game as a player, and he hasn’t been a part of one yet as a coach, either.

“My last outdoor game memory was playing outdoor hockey when I was a kid,” Richardson said. “It’s an exciting opportunity. I haven’t really been versed too much from the team and the league yet, I just got bits of news — I actually got it from you guys. But it’s exciting. Obviously it’s next year, but I think for myself to be involved in one of those would be really exciting and I know the players would always love and appreciate that opportunity.”

It will be the seventh outdoor game for the Blackhawks, who lead the NHL in that department. Four of them have been in the Winter Classic and the other two were Stadium Series games.

With the Connor Bedard era in full swing, the Blackhawks will fittingly return to the Friendly Confines, where they held their first Winter Classic game on Jan. 1, 2009. They lost 6-4 to their arch rival Detroit Red Wings, but the signature event put Chicago on the map as a top hockey market.

It’s the first time since Jan. 1, 2019, that the Blackhawks are appearing in an outdoor game. They own a 1-5-0 record over those six outdoor games.

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