The Chicago-Green Bay rivalry is heading outdoors at a football stadium in January, but it won’t involve the Bears and Packers.
The Chicago Steel and Green Bay Gamblers will play Jan. 3 at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas in conjunction with the 2020 NHL Winter Classic, the USHL announced Monday when releasing the 2019-20 schedules. The two USHL teams will also play Jan. 2 at a venue to be announced.
All 16 USHL teams will begin the 2019-20 campaign with two regular-season games at the USHL Fall Classic from Sept. 26-29 in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Dates and opponents will be announced at a later date.
During the 2018-19 season, Chicago won its second Eastern Conference championship in the past three years then were swept in the Clark Cup Final by the Sioux Falls Stampede with Blackhawks prospect Josiah Slavin on the team. Slavin, who is attending the Blackhawks prospect camp this week in Chicago, will play for Colorado College next season.
The Steel had three players selected in the 2019 NHL draft, including forward Robert Mastrosimone (Red Wings, second round, No. 54), Nick Abruzzese (Maple Leafs, fourth round, No. 124) and Jake Schmaltz (Bruins, seventh round, No. 192). Defenseman Jackson LaCombe (Ducks, second round, No. 39) skated two games as an affiliate. Abruzzese was the USHL’s leading scorer with 80 points.
Chicago’s first home game of the season will be Oct. 5 against the Gamblers at Fox Valley Ice Arena in suburban Geneva. The Steel’s 62-game schedule features 29 home games, which are all on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
The Steel will be the state of Illinois’ only USHL team next season after the Bloomington-based Central Illinois Flying Aces announced a one-year withdraw from the league due to finances.