We're just over two weeks away from the Blackhawks heading outdoors to take on the Minnesota Wild at the 2016 NHL Stadium Series in Minnesota, but reports are surfacing that the Blackhawks could be involved in another outdoor game in the 2016-17 NHL season.
Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispactch reported Saturday that the St. Louis Blues are expected to host the 2017 NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium and the Blackhawks could be the opponent. According to Rutherford's sources, the plan is not yet complete, but the St. Louis Cardinals are expecting to host an outdoor game at their home stadium on Jan. 2, 2017.
That would venture off the typical New Years Day schedule for the Winter Classic, but with Jan. 1 falling on a Sunday next year, delaying the game until the following Monday could make sense for the NHL to avoid competing with NFL.
The Blues being selected as the host for the 2017 Winter Classic would make a lot of sense for the organization. 2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of the NHL's first expansion in 1967, which saw the Blues added to the league. The Los Angeles Kings, another 1967 expansion team, were announced as the host of the 2017 NHL All-Star game last weekend.
If true, the 2017 outdoor game would be the Blackhawks' third Winter Classic appearance and fifth outdoor game overall, including four in four seasons from 2014-17. Chicago is 0-2 in Winter Classics so far, but defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014 Stadium Series game at Soldier Field.
Again, nothing is official yet, but Rutherford expects that the official Winter Classic announcement could come within the next week.