NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman broke the news at the 2023 Winter Classic in Boston that the Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken would be participating in the 2024 Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, home of the MLB’s Seattle Mariners. Now that we are just weeks away from one of the biggest events of the season, there’s been a ton of new information that has come out to get fans excited for the festivities.
This will be the second time the Golden Knights have participated in an outdoor game, with the first being at the NHL Outdoor Games event at Lake Tahoe against the Colorado Avalanche in 2021. This will be the Kraken’s first outdoor game since they joined the league just two seasons ago.
There’s clearly a rivalry trying to be built between the NHL’s newest franchises, but it hasn’t been very competitive up until this point. The Golden Knights have a 6-1-0 record against the Kraken in the seven times they have met, including a perfect 3-0 record on the road in Seattle. The Golden Knights defeated the Kraken 4-1 in their opening game of the season, and this will be the second of four games they play against each other this season.
The Kraken have had a pretty tough start to the season, putting together an 8-9-5 record and tying the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders for the most overtime losses in the league. They’re fourth in the Pacific Division and hold the second wild card spot, although that might not mean much right now with so much time left in the season.
The Kraken are coming off an incredible playoff run last season where they defeated the Colorado Avalanche in the first round and took the Dallas Stars to seven games before being eliminated. While it hasn’t been an ideal start, they’ve proven that they can play up to the best competition in the league on any given night and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Winter Classic Uniforms Revealed
One of the biggest parts of the Winter Classic is the custom jerseys that are made for each event, and the NHL and Adidas finally revealed what both teams will be wearing on New Year’s Day.
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Some of the most iconic looks in hockey have come from the Winter Classic, like the baby blue Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys from 2008 or the bright orange Philadelphia Flyers jerseys from 2012. These jerseys have become a huge part of each team’s legacy, and fans consider them to be among the best that the NHL has ever designed.
With both the Kraken and the Golden Knights being the NHL’s newest franchises, there wasn’t a ton of hockey history to take inspiration from in the process of designing each uniform. Although the Kraken’s stripes do have some historical significance, taking from the Seattle Metropolitans, the first American team to win the Stanley Cup all the way back in 1917.
As for the Golden Knights, their uniforms have seven stars along the collar to represent their seventh season in the NHL. They also included a nod to owner Bill Foley and his history with the military, with the stitching on the ‘V’ being derived from the uniforms used by the West Point Cadets. Foley graduated from West Point and was a Second-Lieutenant in the US Air Force, making this a perfect tie-in to the franchise’s connection to the Black Knights of the US Military Academy.
‘Road to the Winter Classic’ Series Returns
The NHL also announced that the ‘Road to the Winter Classic’ series will return to TNT, which will document both teams on their journey in the weeks leading up to the festivities. This will be the 10th season of the show, which started by following the Penguins and the Washington Capitals ahead of the 2011 Winter Classic, and it will be the first time it has aired since 2019.
Many teams have used their inside access to create documentary-style content throughout the hockey season, and it’s always been something the fans enjoy. The Boston Bruins have their ‘Behind The B’ YouTube series, which is currently in its 11th season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have ‘The Leaf: Blueprint’ as their series, the Chicago Blackhawks have ‘Every Shift’, and the list goes on.
These videos give fans a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite franchises and the internal storylines that follow them throughout the year, while also getting a chance to get to know the personalities of the players they love. For a league that is continuously trying to grow its popularity, having content like this return to television on one of the biggest networks in North America will be a huge opportunity for viewership to grow over the holidays.
There will be four 30-minute episodes in the series, airing on Dec. 13, Dec. 20, Dec. 27, and right before puck drop on Jan. 1.
While I initially wasn’t a fan of either jersey, they’re already starting to grow on me. I think the vintage white base on the Golden Knights sweater blends well with the navy blue color of the crest. While I’m still not a huge fan of the giant red ‘S’ on the Kraken sweater, I think the stripes are a nice look and a creative way to incorporate their limited history as a hockey city.
The Winter Classic is always one of the best parts of the hockey season, and this game will be no exception. With the Golden Knights trying to continue their hot start to the regular season and the Kraken trying to climb the Pacific Division standings, these divisional rivals will not disappoint.