NHL Stadium Series: A Look Back At The History And Results Of The NHL's Stadium Series

By Ed Francis on February 17, 2024 at 9:58 pm
The Columbus Blue Jackets will face the Detroit Red Wings in the 2025 NHL Stadium Series.

The NHL’s Stadium Series is coming to Columbus.

The league confirmed what we already knew Saturday night, making the official announcement during the game between the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils at MetLife Stadium: the Columbus Blue Jackets will host the Detroit Red Wings at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, March 1st, 2025.

It will be the only game scheduled as part of the 2024-25 Stadium Series.

This year’s installment of the Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series is the first time the NHL has two outdoor games with fans in attendance in back-to-back days. Sunday, MetLife Stadium will play host to the second game of the Stadium Series, with the New York Rangers and New York Islanders facing off against each other at 3:00 p.m.

The stadium, which is home to the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants, sits in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

But what is the Stadium Series? While the Winter Classic began in 2008, the Stadium Series is a newer concept.

Its first game was played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on January 25th, 2014. The Los Angeles Kings played the Anaheim Ducks in front of just over 54,000 — who saw the Ducks defeat the Kings by a score of 3-0. Corey Perry scored less than three minutes in for the first goal in Stadium Series history.

The next day was Yankee Stadium’s turn, with the Rangers picking up a 7-3 win over the Devils. The Rangers would win on that same sheet of ice three days later, this time a closer 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. Just over 50,000 attended each game. To date, the ten total goals scored in the first of the two games at Yankee Stadium is an NHL Stadium Series record.

The inaugural year of the Stadium Series concluded March 1st — the same calendar date as next year’s Blue Jackets game at Ohio Stadium — with the Chicago Blackhawks defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 5-1 score. That game was played at Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, in front of just under 63,000.

That attendance record would fall the next season, when just over 70,000 were at Levi’s Stadium to see the Kings defeat the San Jose Sharks 2-1. It was the only game of the Stadium Series that year and the 70,205 in attendance remains a Stadium Series record.

The 2016 Stadium Series would see a pair of games, coming less than a week apart in February. The Minnesota Wild would cruise to a 6-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium, the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Six days later, Coors Field — home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies — would be the site of a 5-3 Red Wings victory over the home Colorado Avalanche.

Until this year, the 2016 Stadium Series was the last with multiple games. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Flyers by a 4-2 margin in the 2017 version, played at Heinz Field (home of the Pittsburgh Steelers). In 2018, the Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, and in 2019 the Flyers would get revenge on the Penguins with a 4-3 win in front of a home crowd at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Stadium Series History
Date Venue Result Crowd
Jan. 25, 2014 Dodger Stadium
(Los Angeles, CA)
ANA: 3
LA: 0
Jan. 26, 2014 Yankee Stadium
(New York, NY)
NYR: 7
NJ: 3
Jan. 29, 2014 Yankee Stadium
(New York, NY)
NYR: 2
NYI: 1
Mar. 1, 2014 Soldier Field
(Chicago, IL)
CHI: 5
PIT: 1
Feb. 21, 2015 Levi's Stadium
(Santa Clara, CA) 
LA: 2
SJ: 1
Feb. 21, 2016 TCF Bank Stadium
(Minneapolis, MN) 
MIN: 6
CHI: 1
Feb. 27, 2016 Coors Field
(Denver, CO)
DET: 5
COL: 3
Feb. 25, 2017 Heinz Field
(Pittsburgh, PA)
PIT: 4
PHI: 2
Mar. 3, 2018 Memorial Stadium
(Annapolis, MD)
WSH: 5
TOR: 2
Feb. 23, 2019 Lincoln Financial Field
(Philadelphia, PA)
PHI: 4
PIT: 3
Feb. 15, 2020 Falcon Stadium 
(Colorado Springs, CO)
LA: 3
COL: 1
Feb. 26, 2022 Nissan Stadium
(Nashville, TN)
TB: 3
NSH: 2
Feb. 18, 2023 Carter-Finney Stadium 
(Raleigh, NC)
CAR: 4
WSH: 1
Feb. 17, 2024 MetLife Stadium 
(East Rutherford, NJ)
Feb. 18, 2024 MetLife Stadium
(East Rutherford, NJ)

In 2020, just a few weeks before the pandemic began global shutdowns, the Avalanche again hosted the Stadium Series — this time at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Their opponent, the Kings, won the game 3-1 in what was the third game of the Stadium Series to be played at a college stadium.

Following the pandemic, the Stadium Series was rebooted in February 2022. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Nashville Predators 3-2 in front of 68,000+ at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, which is home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.

Last year, Carter-Finley Stadium became the 4th college stadium to host the event; the home of the North Carolina State Wolfpack had nearly 57,000 fans play witness to a 4-1 Carolina Hurricanes victory over the Capitals.  

When the Blue Jackets take the ice at Ohio Stadium in March, they’ll likely break at least one record — the 70,205 at Levi’s Stadium in 2015 will be broken by the crowds in attendance at MetLife Stadium for this year’s version of the Stadium Series, with officials expecting about 80,000 in attendance for each game.

But even that will pale in comparison to the 100,000+ likely heading Ohio State’s campus next season. No attendance figures have been projected yet, but with a capacity of 102,780, the game will sure to be a Stadium Series record that few venues have the ability to eclipse. 

One that can — and has the NHL's high-water mark — is Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. An all-time NHL record crowd of 105,491 was at venue known as The Big House for the Maple Leafs shootout win over the Red Wings in the Winter Classic version of the NHL's outdoor games.

Whether or not that number can be bested in 2025 by the Blue Jackets is unknown yet. 

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