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NHL Winter Classic gives hockey fans a holiday gift

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There hasn’t been much to look forward to this year for Buffalo Sabres fans. Lucky for them, the 2018 NHL Winter Classic is just two weeks away.

The Buffalo Sabres will play the 10th anniversary outdoor hockey at Citi Field against the New York Rangers on New Year’s Day.

“Obviously I think the last 10 years this has been a premier event for not only celebrating the National Hockey League, but celebrating hockey in general," said Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill, "and I know our players, our fans, our staff, all of our families are excited about playing in this game.”

Sabres winger Jason Pominville said playing this event brings you back to being a kid.

“Every team wants to be a part of these games and we’re fortunate to be one of them this year," Pominville said. "I had a blast. I’ve been fortunate to play in one, obviously the first one here and the stadium series in Minnesota. Both of them were amazing, great turnouts, and I mean, look at the build up to these games now.” 

Former Sabres goalie Marty Biron talked about the difference in playing outdoors.

“I remember in the third period of our game, the play went from left to right, and usually the first reaction when it goes into the corner is to look at the Jumbotron to see what is happening," Biron said, "and I look up and there is a full moon in the sky, right, so those things really add to how special playing outside is.”

The first ever Winter Classic was held at New Era Field, then called Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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