The Winter Classic has turned into a very successful midseason tradition for the NHL, complete with intriguing storylines, cool jerseys and cleverly chosen venues.
However, as my colleague Dylan Robertson rightly points out, there are only so many venues in North America that would be able to support an outdoor NHL game. That number decreases further when one considers that the venue and teams involved must be particularly special in order to boost ticket sales and TV viewer numbers.
When I was asked to come up with a list of the best potential rivalries for the Winter Classic, I immediately thought of the scene from Rocky where Apollo Creed randomly decides to fight Rocky based solely on his nickname and creates a promotional scenario for the event. You all know which scene I’m talking about.
That scene is relevant here because the purpose of the Winter Classic is to be a spectacle, first and foremost. It is an attempt to be as grandiose as possible in order to catapult hockey into the collective consciousness of American sports fans.
After all, there’s a reason why college football is featured more prominently than the NHL at Bleacher Report.
Here are five rivalries (complete with suggested venues) that even the late Apollo Creed would approve of.