T-Mobile Park, the home of the Seattle Mariners baseball team, will host the city’s first outdoor hockey game when it stages the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic.
Seattle Kraken will play Vegas Golden Knights on January 1, 2024, with Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins having played the 2023 NHL Winter Classic in front of a crowd of 39,243 at Fenway Park in Boston on Monday (Jan 2).
The Kraken’s Climate Pledge Arena has a capacity of 17,459 while T-Mobile Park can welcome 47,943 for baseball and 30,144 for football.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Tod Lewieke, Kraken’s chief executive. “I think in some regards these things we hoped would happen, these are the things we dreamed would happen. But it’s a great honour that in our third season, we’re going to host, really, an international event.”
“This is a big deal. Every other team thinks about this kind of event and every other team wants to host these events. We had to make our case. The city is great at big events. But it did fundamentally require a partnership between the Mariners, beautiful T-Mobile and the whole organisation.”
T-Mobile Park has a retractable roof, which will allow the NHL to build the rink and set the stage on the field along with décor everywhere in the facility in all weather conditions. The goal will be to play the game with the roof open.
“The roof doesn’t hurt,” Leiweke said. “So, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, [we’ll be able] to slide a roof over so we’ll have an outdoor game, weather protected. A big factor was the Mariners’ willingness to lean in. We’ve been a huge enthusiastic supporter of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game (scheduled for 2023) coming here.”
The Kraken will become the 29th NHL team to participate in a regular-season outdoor game. Seattle will be the first Pacific Division team to host the Winter Classic, which has never been played west of the Central time zone.
The Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks have hosted outdoor games but not the Winter Classic. The Oilers, Flames and Canucks hosted the Heritage Classic; the Kings and Sharks hosted the Stadium Series.
T-Mobile Park will be the 14th venue and eighth baseball stadium to host the NHL’s premier regular-season event since it started in 2008.
“That will be pretty cool,” Golden Knights captain Mark Stone said. “Those games are definitely fun to be at. You don’t really understand it until you’re actually there. I’ve played in outdoor games before, and the environment at the facility is a lot better than than watching it on TV. So that’ll be pretty fun. I’m sure we’ll be able to get some family out in Seattle to enjoy a few days. It’ll be fun.”
The NHL has staged 36 regular-season outdoor games, including the 2023 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. The NHL announced Saturday that the Flames and Oilers will play in the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on October 29.