Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the outdoor events for the 2019-2020 season, with the NHL Winter Classic taking place in Dallas for the first time. Although we are a bit (tiny bit) less than a year away from it, Stars’ fans are already looking forward to this event. Even more because the opponent is yet to be decided – by the Stars’ organization. And no, it won’t be the Chicago Blackhawks, they were clear about that.

The Winter Classic has been going since 2008, and is one of the three regular season outdoor games from the NHL, along with the Heritage Classic and the Stadium Series. Unlike the Heritage Classic, which has been held infrequently, the Winter Classic has been held annually on or around New Year’s Day – except in 2013, when it was suspended due to the lockout. The Winter Classic takes place in the US while the Heritage Classic is held exclusively in Canada.

This will be the first time Dallas hosts the event and also the first time the Stars participate in it. Yes: in 11 years of Winter Classic, the Stars haven’t taken part of it. It was about time! And for the record, the team with most appearances are the Chicago Blackhawks with four (and four losses), followed by the Boston Bruins (three appearances, two wins).

The event will take place on January 1, 2020, at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. Dallas Stars’ owner Tom Gaglardi shared the following:

“The entire Stars organization is honored to be selected by the NHL to host the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Cotton Bowl Stadium is one of the most iconic and recognizable sports venues in the United States. For nearly a century, the stadium has hosted premier sporting events and has featured some of the greatest players to ever play their sport. The city of Dallas and the entire Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has become a destination for the world’s biggest sporting events and hosting the NHL Winter Classic will continue that trend”.

The Stars will get a say on who they will play against, and there are already a couple of rumors (and a bunch of suggestions) on who it could be. Most fans would like to see the Stars go against the Minnesota Wild, mainly for history reasons (remember when the Minnesota North Stars were relocated to Dallas? Yeah, the drama. The drama!).

Others want to see the world burn and their top choice are the Nashville Predators. In that case, we would 100% get a country artist to perform and that is going to divide the nation (the hockey-nation, that is). However, some reports are pointing at the St. Louis Blues as the most likely opponents.

In fact, earlier reports stated that the Blues were going to host the Winter Classic; turned out to be the All-Star weekend instead. If the NHL wants some “division drama”, the Blues could be a good option, but to be perfectly honest, it would be much more exciting if they brought the Winnipeg Jets. But – and here’s a reality check – there are a number of factors to take into account, like how far away is the opponent (would fans be willing to travel?), and how much attention (cough, rating, cough) they bring. If we take all this into consideration, the Jets are out.

Of course, they could also go after a team from another division, but that seems unlikely. And with Colorado hosting the Stadium Series weeks later, the only options left are Nashville, Minnesota, and St. Louis. Honestly, and for the sake of drama, the Wild are the best option.

Not saying that Nashville couldn’t bring drama to the mix, but honestly: nobody has time on New Year’s Day to go through multiple goal reviews. So no, thanks.

Being chosen as the hosts of the Winter Classic gives the Stars a push to prove the league, fans, and a certain CEO with a colorful language that they are worth the honor. The excitement and support from fans should also help fuel the team and motivate them to rise from the ashes and shut a handful of haters up. Just saying.

While the team takes their time to choose an opponent, tickets for the 2020 Winter Classic will go on sale… at a later date. They’re giving us time to save, of course. However, Dallas Stars Season Ticket Holders and American Airlines Center suite and premium seat holders will be given priority to purchase tickets before the general public.

Photo: NHL
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