“The Blackhawks and Bruins, two of our most historic franchises, will be meeting outdoors for the first time at the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Notre Dame Stadium, with its capacity approaching 80,000, will provide an ideal setting for this ground-breaking event and will host the largest live audience ever to witness a game by either of these teams.”
“We are very excited to welcome the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and NHL to Notre Dame Stadium for the 2019 Winter Classic,” added University of Notre Dame VP and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick. “I believe it’s only fitting that two of the NHL’s legendary Original Six teams will take the ice for the first hockey game in one of America’s most iconic athletic facilities. Hosting two franchises with so many connections to Notre Dame also provides a unique opportunity to celebrate our hockey legacy.”
The 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be broadcast live on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports. Additional details including game time, ticket information and other events surrounding the game will be announced in the coming months and available at NHL.com/WinterClassic2019.
Notre Dame Stadium has celebrated a new era in 2017 with the completion of the Campus Crossroads Project, which extensively renovated the stadium while adding three new buildings to the physical plant, creating an unprecedented mix of athletics and academics for campus-wide use.
Both participating NHL teams have ties to Notre Dame.
Current Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman graduated from the university in 1995. The Blackhawks have also held a portion of their training camp at Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena four times over the past five years (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2017-18).
Additionally, former Irish forward Vinnie Hinostroza (2013-15) is a member of the Blackhawks organization and has played 56 NHL games in the early stages of his professional career. Current Irish defenseman Dennis Gilbert was a third round selection (91st overall) by Chicago in the 2015 NHL Draft and former Notre Dame player Mike McNeill (1984-88) skated for the Blackhawks during the 1990-91 season, playing in 23 games.
Former Bruins great Dave Poulin spent 10 years as head coach at Notre Dame and also played for the Irish from 1978 to 1982 under Lefty Smith. Current Bruins rookie forward Anders Bjork played three seasons with the Irish, culminating in last season’s run to the 2017 Frozen Four. Bjork earned All-American honors following the 2016-17 season.
In addition, Yan Stastny, who skated for the Irish from 2001-03, also played parts of the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons with the Bruins.