Seattle Kraken to Host 2024 Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park

During coverage of the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the next Classic will take place in Seattle.

After a long battle by the Seattle faithful to get an NHL franchise back to the city, fans were told on January 2nd that the newest NHL franchise would host one of hockey’s greatest traditions, the Winter Classic.

What is the Winter Classic?

The Winter Classic is an annual event hosted by the NHL that embodies the very spirit of hockey. The game of hockey itself started on the frozen lakes and ponds of North America and it would be decades before the first NHL game was played inside of a packed stadium. The origins of the game live on as kids and adults alike play on the frozen lakes and ponds of the world and embody the spirit of hockey. Knowing this the NHL decided to capitalize on this fabled hockey history and put on the first ever outdoor game the 2003 Heritage Classic in Edmonton. However, it wouldn’t be until 2008 that the league would return outdoors with the first ever Winter Classic in 2008. This game is played outside at baseball fields and football stadiums on New Year’s Day and features two teams battling it out in the elements, wearing retro jerseys while being watched by larger than life crowds.

The Winter Classic has seen some truly memorable outings with each one managing to be unique in some way. However in the decade and a half of the game’s history the team’s have rotated and not many outsiders have had a chance to play or host. Seeing as Boston and Chicago alone have four appearances each, there hasn’t been much variety in the teams featured. As a matter of fact the Bruins have been the home team for three of the four games they’ve played in.

Seeing this trend, the NHL has tried some outside the box locales like the Cotton Bowl in Dallas back in 2020, before eventually returning back to Fenway this year for the 2023 iteration of the game. However it appears they are looking to shake things up for the coming Classics with their latest announcement that the Seattle Kraken will host next year’s game and one of the biggest hockey events of the year.

The 2024 Winter Classic

Next year’s version of the Classic will be hosted at the home of the Mariners, T-Mobile Park on New Year’s Day 2024. The Kraken will face-off against the Vegas Golden Knights in a battle for expansion team supremacy. The Golden Knights have actually already played in an outdoor game, participating in one of the two games played on Lake Tahoe in 2021 played with no spectators. The Kraken on the other hand have yet to play outdoors and will become the youngest team to do so in NHL history.

One advantage of having the game at T-Mobile Park is the retractable roof of the stadium which can be used in the event of too intense weather that would otherwise halt or delay the progress of the game. This will be the first Winter Classic host to have a retractable roof and could significantly help with the flow of the game as years past have had significant delays due to build up of snow. The stadium itself has a maximum capacity of 47,929 which could make the ’24 Classic one of the most attended outdoor games in NHL history.

Seattle has cemented itself as one of the premier hockey cities in the US and hosting the Winter Classic so early is a sign of the success the league has had in the area. More updates will come over the coming year including what jerseys the Kraken will wear for their outdoor debut.