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Winter Classic 2015: Washington Capitals to host annual outdoor game

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(WJLA) - The Winter Classic, the National Hockey League's annual outdoor game and celebration, is coming to Washington in 2015, according to multiple sources.

The Capitals beat Pittsburgh in the 2011 Winter Classic. Photo: Associated Press

Numerous reports indicate the Washington Capitals will play host to next season's showcase outdoor game, which takes place either on or around New Year's Day at a venue to be determined.

The news was first reported Thursday night by 106.7 The Fan Capitals reporter Sky Kerstein.

The Capitals participated in and won the 2011 Winter Classic, a 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Capitals officials have made no official announcement about the outdoor game, but a team spokesman made a cryptic statement about a "major announcement" to be made by team owner Ted Leonsis at Saturday's Capitals Convention in the district.

Outdoor hockey first came to the National Hockey League in 2003, when the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens in the Heritage Classic.

Five years later, the league held its first Winter Classic, in which the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 1, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Since then, Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have all played host to the game.

This year's Winter Classic will take place at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Jan. 1, 2014. The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of what's expected to be the largest crowd in NHL history.

The Post reports that a venue for Washington's Winter Classic has not yet been determined, but that Nationals Park appears to be the frontrunner.

Six outdoor games will be played during the 2013-14 season in what the league is calling the NHL Stadium Series. In addition to this year's Winter Classic and the Heritage Classic in Vancouver, outdoor games will also be played in Chicago, New Jersey and Los Angeles.

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.

Date Match-up Location
Jan. 1, 2014 Toronto at Detroit Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jan. 25, 2014 Anaheim at Los Angeles Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.
Jan. 26, 2014 New Jersey at New York Rangers Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
Jan. 26, 2014 New York Islanders at New York Rangers Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
March 1, 2014 Pittsburgh at Chicago Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.
March 2, 2014 Ottawa at Vancouver B.C. Place, Vancouver, B.C.
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