Jack Eichel is a marketable young star. ©2017, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres to play Rangers in Winter Classic in New York

The Buffalo Sabres are going back outdoors. The team will play the New York Rangers in the 2018 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Citi Field, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday.

The game has never taken place in the New York City area. The Sabres will be the home team, according to the Associated Press, because the Rangers must play all home games at Madison Square Garden.

The Sabres, of course, hosted the first Winter Classic in 2008 at what is now called New Era Field. The game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 2-1 shootout loss, was a rousing success and has become iconic in Buffalo sports.

Besides the opportunity to celebrate an anniversary, choosing the Sabres allows the NHL to showcase slick center Jack Eichel, a dynamic young star. The Buffalo market also delivers huge television ratings.

The Rangers played two Stadium Series outdoor games in 2014 at Yankee Stadium. Citi Field is the home of the New York Mets.

New Era Field is hosting an outdoor game between Canada and the United States at the World Junior Championship on Dec. 29.

More information on the Winter Classic will be announced in the coming months.

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