Photo: NHL

 

It’s officially winter and St. Louis is brewing its BlackhawksBlues Busch Stadium Winter Classic weekend festivities.

Beyond the official event schedule featuring the Winter Classic Alumni Game Saturday and the Winter Classic Monday, they’ve created a winter wonderland for hockey fans called The Pregame.

The NHL has teamed with Enterprise and a series of other corporate sponsors to celebrate the Winter Classic with ThePregame in Ballpark Village Lots A&B.

“The hockey-themed, family-friendly, official pregame tailgate party of the NHL Winter Classic will be free and feature hockey attractions, special appearances, food and live music, including a special game day performance from Grammy Award-winning and Diamond-selling St. Louis native Nelly,” the media release said.

ThePreGame will open before Saturday’s alumni game and run until the start of the Winter Classic Monday at 601 Clark Ave., St. Louis:

  • Saturday, Dec. 31: 9:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. CT
  • Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. CT
  • Monday, Jan. 2, 2017: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. CT

Visitors can become a part of the Winter Classic experience with a number of free, open to the public, events and activities, as provided by an NHL media release:

• Bridgestone will introduce new extreme experiences that will test your performance at the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Fans will have a chance to get between the pipes and make a game-winning save or challenge friends to an interactive hockey game. This includes an official Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic rally towel!

• Use the Enterprise Target Practice exhibit to shoot pucks into an old washing machine and dryer, much like the pros, and leave with a pair of Enterprise binoculars.

• Coors Light is giving fans the ultimate hockey pregame experience with the Coors Light Slapshot Recycling game and the SkyDeck Bar at The PreGame. Fans 21 and older are invited to take their best shot at the Coors Light Recycling Goal and enjoy a complimentary beverage.

• Join thousands of NHL fans making the pledge to never drive drunk and always have a designated driver by adding your name to the Coors Light Responsibility Puck. For pledging, receive a souvenir photo and enter to win a prize pack sponsored by Coors Light, the official beer of the NHL, and TEAM Coalition.

• Shop an extensive selection of officially-licensed 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® jerseys, knit caps, apparel, and novelty items. Available at retail locations throughout Ballpark Village and Spectator Plaza.

• Warm up in the Dunkin’ Donuts tent, try a free sample of Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee, and test your skills at the DD Perks® Accuracy Challenge.

• Receive a free GEICO Hockey Foam Glove at the GEICO display, and enter to win a $500 gift card!

• Come check out the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, participate in a slapshot challenge, and receive a free gift while supplies last. Honda is the Official Vehicle of the NHL®.

• Experience calling the shots with the Envision NHL Network’s booth, which features a photo op that virtually makes you look like you are on set with on-air NHL Network talent!

• Check out the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, also known as the beloved 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels.

• Showcase your accuracy and take your best shot at the Pepsi Zero Sugar Sharp Shooter.

• Nobody goes nuts for hockey like Mr. Peanut–and he’s there to share samples and take photos with visitors.

• Experience augmented reality photo booths to outfit yourself in the latest Reebok NHL gear and test your skills with Reebok Hockey Ultimate Challenge floor projection game with the Reebok pregame immersion zone.

• The Upper Deck Trading Card Zone lets visitors create a free personalized hockey card! They’ll also offer more information about e-pack, the best new way to get free packs and trade cards.

• The NEW Velveeta Mini Blocks can “melt your heart” with a pose in the Velveeta Liquid Gold Snow Globe.

Nelly will headline The PreGame entertainment at 10:30 a.m. CT Monday, Jan. 2 with a performance of his hit songs. Fellow St. Louis natives, Legends Undercover – an all American cover band covering rock-infused top 40 music with a touch of Midwest charm – will perform three sets on Sunday, Dec. 31 starting at 10:00 a.m. Fans can join the conversation on social media by using the official hashtag #WinterClassic.

St. Louis media also announced “Winterfest at the Arch,” a partnership between the Blues and the CityArchRiver Foundation, which includes a temporary outdoor synthetic ice rink at Luther Ely Smith Square. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT daily until January 8 with music and food vendors on site. A number of special events are also planned, including a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration and a street hockey tournament for kids (ages seven to 12) on New Year’s Day. The Blues will also have certified coaches and alumni teaching kids hockey basics during two days (December 29 and 30) of Try Hockey for Free sessions before the rink opens to the public. Skate in the shadow of the Gateway Arch with $7-$12 skate rental.

The hockey

With a flurry of last-minute goals, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 6-4 Dec. 17 in their last meeting before the Jan. 2 Winter Classic.

Patrik Berglund scored in the first minute of the game and Dennis Rasmussen answered as the first period came to an end.

Just over three minutes into the second, Kyle Brodziak gave the Blues the lead again with Hawks winger Patrick Kane knotting the score again mid-period. Berglund scored again three minutes later for a 3-2 lead.

Brian Campbell answered, though, to tie the game once more with just about a minute left in the second before Alex Pietrangelo tallied seconds before intermission.

The third period was all Chicago.

Niklas Hjalmarsson scored off a play from Artemi Panarin and Marcus Kruger just one minute in. Vinnie Hinostroza scored the game-winning goal with 4:25 left and Panarin got an empty-netter to seal the win with 49 seconds left.

 

 

 

 

“I’m glad we’re going to get a chance to have this Winter Classic game because I think people are really going to get a good feel for the type of emotion and the type of intensity that’s around these games,” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said.

The Hawks, with 49 points, currently lead the league by three points and the west by three points (with the Minnesota Wild in second with 46 points) and the third-place Blues eight behind at 41 points.

In their last 10 games, Chicago is 6-2-2 while the Blues are 4-5-1.

 

Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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