Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
November 21, 2016: As the NHL continues to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the league, it has again joined forces with the Epix premium TV network to present Road To the NHL Outdoor Classics, which this season will double its scope by focusing on two games and four teams.
Road To the NHL Outdoor Classics, which for the past two years has taken fans and viewers inside the preparations for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, will again follow the teams taking that path — with the Chicago Blackhawks playing the St. Louis Blues in Busch Stadium on Jan. 2 — but will also track the Detroit Red Wings playing Toronto Maple Leafs in the Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic on New Year’s Day in BMO Field in Toronto,
Road To the NHL Outdoor Classics is scheduled to premiere on Friday, Dec. 16 on EPIX with the first of four weekly episodes.
The two outdoor games themselves will air on NBC.
"Just as the NHL Winter Classic has become a New Year's tradition and annual high point of our season, the Road To series has become appointment viewing for sports fans each December," Steve Mayer, evp and Chief Content Officer for the NHL, said in a statement.
"This year, the series takes it to another level, chronicling four teams instead of two as they prepare for and compete in both the NHL Winter Classic and the NHL Centennial Classic," said Mayer.
The Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Blackhawks are all Original Six teams — having played in the NHL in the years prior to the League’s expansion in 1967. The St. Louis Blues joined the NHL that year and are celebrating their 50th anniversary this season.
Both outdoor games will be part of a larger schedule of events to include alumni games and fan festivals.
In addition to Epix, the Road to the NHL Outdoor Classics can be seen online (NHL.com, EPIX.com, ChicagoBlackhawks.com, DetroitRedWings.com and StLouisBlues.com) and via the official Epix App (on Android, iOS, XBOX 360, PS3, PS4, Roku and Windows 8).
Epix and the NHL are also supporting via TV, in-arena, Internet and social media (#NHLOutdoors, #WinterClassic, #CentennialClassic, @EpixHD and @NHL).
Busch Stadium is home to MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals.
BMO Field is home to the MLS Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts of the CFL.
This is the first outdoor game for the Blues.
The Red Wings previously played outdoors in the 2009 and 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classics and the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The Maple Leafs also played in the 2014 Bridgestone Winter Classic..
The Blackhawks played outdoors in the 2009 and 2015 Bridgestone Winter Classic in the 2014 and 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
Road to the NHL Outdoor Classics was produced by EPIX — a joint venture among Viacom Inc., its Paramount Pictures unit, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios — and NHL Original Productions, the in-house production arm of the NHL.
Road to the NHL Outdoor Classics Series Schedule
Premiere: Dec. 16
Episode 2: Dec. 23 (re-airing on Dec. 24)
Episode 3: Dec. 30
Episode 4: January 6