NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke with the media here at the Verizon Center with a major focus on the NHL’s Winter Classic and the success of the 24/7 series on HBO featuring the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both teams are playing on Thursday night in Washington just nine days before they are set to face-off in this year’s tilt at Heinz Field on January 1st, which will be televised by NBC.
Daly talked about the success of the soon to be four year old NHL event that has clearly blown away the interest and ratings that the league typically gets for its’ annual All-Star game. The Hockey Hall of Fame Board Member attributed that to the fact that two points are at stake and it is on a day when most people are gathered “around the tv.” In addition the special on cable has helped create energy around the event.
“The buzz for this game is building and the 24/7 show has brought a lot of attention and focus to these two teams. The concept seems to be working and the response we’ve gotten from the fans has been really overwhelming,” said an excited Daly on what promises to be the highest rated Winter Classic yet.
Perhaps the biggest news Daly delivered concerned the possible venues for the future Winter Classic that the Washington Capitals will host. He talked about the extensive research the league has done on weather conditions around the country and said that as long as the temperatures do not climb above the 50 to 55 degree level then the only other concern would be rain. Daly mentioned that you have an advantage from a logistics standpoint when the game is played in a baseball stadium versus a football one because the league can get the necessary extra two to three days it needs to get the ice ready.
So where would a game hosted by Washington likely take place? Below is what Daly had to say on the matter.
“We’ve taken a look at both venues, FedEx Field and the Nationals Park. I think both can work but we’ve got to take a look at this..we’ve taken a look at a couple of other venues in this area and I think we’d like to keep it as close to Washington as we can, so I wouldn’t say those are the only two that have been considered, that decision hasn’t been made yet, but they clearly are the front runners,” started Daly.
“Certainly when we talked about the concept of doing it in the Washington area, whether Baltimore was kind of in the Washington area, yeah, it is. So it certainly has come into the conversation. I would say the preference again would be to do it in Washington, but certainly you’d have to look at those alternative sites if you need to,” finished Daly on the venue when I asked him if Camden Yards was a potential location for the future Caps hosted Winter Classic.