Naval Academy to Host Caps, Maple Leafs in Outdoor NHL Game Next Winter

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Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, via Wikimedia Commons

The Washington Capitals will be lacing up their skates for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Maryland turf ice next year, the Naval Academy announced on Sunday.

The game, set for March 3, 2018, will take place at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium as part of the NHL’s annual Stadium Series. Sparks are expected, as the Caps will be playing the same team they booted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last month, before they fell once again to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.

Maryland may not have its own hockey team, but many of its residents are known rabid Caps fans who make their way down from Baltimore and the surrounding counties to D.C.’s Verizon Center every season.

The Annapolis stadium hosts high-profile football games each year, but this will be the first hockey match it’s ever brought to town. In fact, it’ll be the first-ever pro hockey game hosted by a U.S. service academy.

Decision-makers with the NHL, the arena and sponsoring companies said in the announcement that the event will pay tribute to the country’s service members.

“This matchup in Annapolis will allow us to bring together our midshipmen, many from the Fleet, and the local community to enjoy a day of exciting action and add another chapter in the annals of our stadium’s history,” said Naval Academy athletics director Chet Gladchuk in a statement.

The Caps have played only two other outdoor games in recent years: A 2011 Winter Classic matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field, which they won 3-1, and a 2015 Winter Classic game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationals Park, which they won 3-2.

While it’s exciting news for area hockey heads, the game is still 10 months away. Ticket sales will be announced in the coming months, according to a release from Navy athletics.

Ethan McLeod
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