In an event unlike anything ever before, the NHL proposed an outdoor game between two of its professional hockey clubs at the start of the 2007-2008 season.
Five years and five cities later, the NHL Winter Classic is now an annual event that offers players a chance to play in front of crowds nearly twice as big as a typical NHL arena.
There is nothing quite like playing on such a big stage in the open environment that brings many players (especially the Canadians) back to their roots.
This year, the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers faced off in the NHL's fifth annual Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Rangers erased a second-period 2-0 Flyer lead and claimed a 3-2 victory after Brad Richards buried a rebound behind Flyers' goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Several players stuck out for both teams, both the expected, like red hot Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist who stopped 34 shots, and the unexpected, like grinding power forward Mike Rupp who scored 2 goals for the Rangers.