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NHL Winter Classic going back to Wrigley Field for Blues at Blackhawks

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CHICAGO (AP) — The NHL Winter Classic is going back to Wrigley Field.

The league announced Wednesday night that the Chicago Blackhawks will host the St. Louis Blues at the iconic ballpark for the next edition of one of hockey's marquee events. The second Winter Classic was played at the home of baseball's Chicago Cubs on Jan. 1, 2009.

The date for the Blues-Blackhawks game was not announced. There are three College Football Playoff quarterfinals scheduled for Jan. 1, so the NHL could stage the event on another day in search of a bigger TV audience.

The Kraken beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 in this year's Winter Classic at Seattle's T-Mobile Park.

Chicago has struggled this season, but Connor Bedard is one of the NHL's young stars. The 18-year-old center is out with a broken jaw, but the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games.

The Blackhawks are hosting the Winter Classic for the third time and playing in their fifth one overall. They are still looking for their first win in the event.

Chicago lost 6-4 to Detroit in 2009 at Wrigley. It lost 3-2 to Washington at Nationals Park on Jan. 1, 2015, and 4-1 to St. Louis at Busch Stadium on Jan. 2, 2017. It last played in the Winter Classic in 2019, falling 4-2 to Boston at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Blackhawks also have played outdoors twice as part of the NHL Stadium Series. They beat Pittsburgh 5-1 at Soldier Field on March 1, 2014, and lost 6-1 to Minnesota on Feb. 21, 2016.

Wrigley Field is joining Boston's Fenway Park as the only venues to host multiple Winter Classics. Fenway hosted the 2010 and 2023 games.

St. Louis is playing in the Winter Classic for the third time. In addition to the 2017 game against Chicago, it beat Minnesota 6-4 on Jan. 1, 2022, at Target Field.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL