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#NHLStats Pack: 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic

The Kraken will host the reigning Stanley Cup-champion Golden Knights in the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic at the home of the MLB’s Seattle Mariners, T-Mobile Park, on Jan. 1 (12 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. ET on TNT, Max, SN, TVAS). All stats are through games played Dec. 17 and will be updated after the Kraken’s game on Dec. 29.

Quick Hits:
* Seattle and Vegas – the League’s two newest franchises – will play its first and second outdoor game in franchise history, respectively, but the Golden Knights’ ties to open-air contests date back further than the 2021 NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe opener less than three years ago.

Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash.), the first Washington-born player to skate for the Kraken, is set to make his outdoor debut in his home state – where he also played junior hockey.

Brayden McNabb dressed in a historic open-air contest in Washington nearly 13 years ago and is now set to skate in the League’s first-ever outdoor game in “The Evergreen State.”

* Other topics in the latest #NHLStats Pack include Washington state’s ties to the NHL, pre-Kraken Seattle hockey history and how legendary former Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is connected to a member of the city’s first pro hockey team, the Metropolitans.

Quick Clicks:
Outdoor Game List
Outdoor Game Standings
Outdoor Game Skater Records
Outdoor Game Goaltender Records
Outdoor Game Team Records
Outdoor Game Skater Register
Outdoor Game Goaltender Register

* Seattle will make its outdoor game debut, doing so in a venue located just three miles from Climate Pledge Arena. The Kraken will be the 29th franchise in NHL history to contest a regular-season outdoor game.

* Vegas will contest its second outdoor game, following a loss to Colorado in the 2021 NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe opener. Reigning Stanley Cup champions are 5-1-0 in regular-season outdoor games.

* Seattle and Vegas debuted in 2021-22 and 2017-18, respectively, and have won a combined 371 regular-season games, 61 playoff contests, 12 postseason series and one Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights enjoyed unprecedented success during their inaugural campaign, while the Kraken had 46 wins and 100 points in 2022-23 (the best improvements by an NHL franchise from its first to second season & among the biggest YOY point improvements by any club in League history).

* Seattle will be the youngest NHL franchise to compete in a regular-season outdoor game, eclipsing Vegas which was contesting its fourth season in 2021.

* The first-ever outdoor game between two NHL teams took place less than two miles from the Golden Knights’ home arena on Sept. 27, 1991, with the Kings scoring five unanswered goals to overcome a 2-0 deficit and earn a preseason win against the Rangers on a rink built over the Caesars Palace parking lot.

Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash.) is set to become the 68th different NHL player to dress in a regular-season outdoor game in his birth state or province and fourth among those born outside of Canada, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota or New York. He can join Matt Nieto (Long Beach, Calif.) in the 2015 Stadium Series at Levi’s Stadium as well as Chris Chelios (Chicago, Ill.) and Brett Lebda (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) in the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

Matty Beniers is set to become the sixth reigning Calder Memorial Trophy winner to skate in a regular-season outdoor game, following Kirill Kaprizov (2022 WC), Cale Makar (2021 LT), Artemi Panarin (2017 WC), Patrick Kane (2009 WC) and Evgeni Malkin (2008 WC). Auston Matthews did not dress for the Maple Leafs in the 2018 Stadium Series at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Jared McCann (14-6—20 in 32 GP), who leads the team with 14 goals this season, is set to contest his second career regular-season outdoor NHL game and first since skating alongside current teammates Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz with the Penguins in the 2019 Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field. McCann (81-59—140 in 185 GP) was a member of four different NHL franchises before being claimed by Seattle in the 2021 Expansion Draft (including Toronto for just four days ahead of the event) and his since gone on to become the club’s all-time leader in goals and points.

Vince Dunn (14-56—70 in 79 GP) is set to ring in the new year after ranking among the League leaders for goalsassists and points by defensemen in 2023. He won a Stanley Cup alongside Vegas players Ivan Barbashev and Alex Pietrangelo with St. Louis in 2019, capped by the Blues earning a championship-clinching win against current Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins in Game 7 of the Final.

Jordan Eberle and Brandon Tanev are set to contest their first regular-season outdoor NHL game since going head-to-head in the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field with the Oilers and Jets, respectively. Adam Larsson also skated with Edmonton during its 3-0 win.

Pierre-Edouard BellemareAndre Burakovsky and Philipp Grubauer appeared across from the Golden Knights with the Avalanche during their 3-2 win in the 2021 NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe opener. Burakovsky was on the ice for the game-winning goal and Grubauer had 27 saves in the win.

* Bellemare (also PHI, COL, TBL) is set to become the fourth player to dress in at least one regular-season outdoor game with four different NHL franchises – he can join Cam Talbot (5; played w/ 2), Benoit Pouliot (4) and Thomas Vanek (4). Grubauer can become the fourth goaltender to earn at least one regular-season outdoor game win with multiple NHL clubs, following Frederik AndersenCraig Anderson and Ty Conklin (all w/ 2).

Tomas Tatar tallied two points with the Red Wings in both the 2017 Centennial Classic at Exhibition Stadium and 2016 Stadium Series at Coors Field. He can become the first player in NHL history to record multiple points in three regular-season outdoor games, eclipsing Sean CouturierZach HymanNathan MacKinnonDavid Pastrnak and Henrik Zetterberg (all 2x).

Dave Hakstol was the Flyers’ head coach during their 4-2 loss to Dumoulin, Schultz and the Penguins in the 2017 Stadium Series at Heinz Field. One of Hakstol’s players and Bellemare’s teammates was Philadelphia forward Sean Couturier, whose father, Sylvain, scored the game-winning goal for Los Angeles in the outdoor preseason contest at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

* Thirteen current Seattle players have appeared in at least one regular-season outdoor NHL game (min. 1 GP in 2023-24). Their statistics in those contests are listed in the attached PDF on page 11.

Jack Eichel (14-22—36 in 32 GP), who is set to contest his second career regular-season outdoor NHL game and first since skating with the Sabres in the 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field, leads the Golden Knights in points this season. His 14 goals rank tied with William Karlsson (14-15—29 in 32 GP) for second behind Jonathan Marchessault (15-9—24 in 32 GP) – Karlsson and Marchessault are two of Vegas’ five “Misfits” that played for the team since its inaugural campaign (also William CarrierBrayden McNabb & Shea Theodore).

* Eichel (194-288—482 in 508 GP) needs six goals for 200 in his NHL career. His 194 goals rank third among current Golden Knights players behind Mark Stone (206-340—546 in 616 GP) and Marchessault (203-239—442 in 588 GP).

* Stone skated with the Senators in the NHL100 Classic at Lansdowne Park and Golden Knights in the 2021 NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe opener. He became the first captain in franchise history just over one month before the latter contest and has since been named a Frank J. Selke Trophy finalist, played in an NHL All-Star Game and scored a Stanley Cup-clinching hat trick.

* Vegas could have as many as 20 Cup winners in its lineup, including three-time champion Alec Martinez (2023 VGK, 2014 LAK & 2012 LAK) and two-time winners Ivan Barbashev (2023 VGK & 2019 STL), Alex Pietrangelo (2023 VGK & 2019 STL) and Chandler Stephenson (2023 VGK & 2018 WSH). The most Cup winners among players to dress for an NHL team in a regular-season outdoor game is 19 by the Blackhawks in the 2014 Stadium Series at Soldier Field, while the most combined Cup wins is 37 by the Red Wings in the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

Bruce Cassidy was the Bruins’ head coach during their 7-3 win against the Flyers in the 2021 NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe finale and 4-2 victory versus the Blackhawks in the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium. He can become the second NHL head coach to earn wins in each of his first three regular-season outdoor games, joining Alain Vigneault (3-0-0).

* Sixteen current Vegas players have appeared in at least one regular-season outdoor NHL game (min. 1 GP in 2023-24), including 12 who dressed for the club outdoors in 2021. Their statistics in those contests are listed in the attached PDF on page 11.

2017 –Year that Seattle forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was claimed by Vegas from Philadelphia in the NHL Expansion Draft, while new teammate Tomas Tatar was traded to the Golden Knights by the Red Wings later that season. They are two of three players to appear in at least one game with both the Kraken and Golden Knights (also Derrick Pouliot).

2009 – Year that Mariners icons Ken Griffey Jr. and Ichiro Suzuki (who are featured on Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord’s Winter Classic mask) were carried off T-Mobile Park on the shoulders of their teammates at the conclusion of the season. Similar occurrences happened in the NHL on May 21, 1979 (when Canadiens forward Bob Gainey won the Conn Smythe Trophy), April 21, 1951 (when Maple Leafs defenseman Bill Barilko scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal before disappearing four months later) and Feb. 10, 1942 (when the Bruins’ “Kraut Line” of Bobby BauerWoody Dumart & Milt Schmidt contested their final game before serving in Royal Canadian Air Force).

1917 – Year that the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association became the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. Their five contests against the Canadiens at Seattle Ice Arena in the ill-fated 1919 Final marked the first playoff games by an NHL team in the U.S.

262 – Hits by Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki in 2004, establishing a single-season MLB record previously set in 1920 by George Sisler (257). Sisler later was an MLB teammate of Jim Riley, who is believed to be the only individual to play in both the NHL and MLB. Riley skated eight seasons with the Seattle Metropolitans in the PCHA (while playing baseball in the summer) before signing with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1927, with whom he played three games before being traded to the Detroit Cougars.

39 – Regular-season outdoor games in League history, including the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic. The total is set to reach 41 with the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium (Feb. 17-18).

19 – Edition of WrestleMania held at T-Mobile Park on March 30, 2003, with one of the highlights from the event being Chris Jericho facing his childhood idol Shawn Michaels. Jericho’s father, Ted Irvine, played parts of 11 seasons in the NHL and was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in the player category in 1985 – 34 years before Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon went in as a builder.

15 – Minutes of ice-time logged by Golden Knights assistant coach Joel Ward with the Capitals during their 3-2 victory in the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park. Troy Brouwer scored the winner with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation, which remains the NHL’s latest go-ahead goal in a regular-season outdoor game.

13 – Years since Kraken general manager Ron Francis scored a goal with the Penguins during their 5-5 tie against the Capitals in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game at Heinz Field on Dec. 31, 2010.

13 – Years since Washington earned a 3-1 victory versus Pittsburgh in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field. Golden Knights president of hockey operations and alternate governor George McPhee was the Capitals’ general manager at the time.

13 – Regular-season outdoor games played in baseball parks including the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic. The 26 others took place in football venues (23 GP), atop a golf course (2 GP) and at a soccer stadium (1 GP).

12 – Years since Kraken assistant coach Dave Lowry was behind the Flames’ bench in the same capacity during Calgary’s 4-0 win against Montreal in the 2011 Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium.

12 – Years since Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb captained the WHL’s Kootenay Ice to an Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions in 2010-11. He skated over 80 games with the Ice that year, including their 11-2 loss against the Spokane Chiefs in the Rockstar Outdoor Hockey Classic at Avista Stadium in Spokane on Jan. 15, 2011. The contest marked the first regular-season outdoor game in CHL history.

Photo via @TheWHL

– Regular-season outdoor games that Kraken assistant general manager Jason Botterill has been involved in, including the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic. He was an executive with the Penguins for the 2008 Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium, 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field, 2014 Stadium Series at Soldier Field and 2017 Stadium Series at Heinz Field as well as general manager of the Sabres for the 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field. Vegas forward Jack Eichel made his outdoor game debut in Buffalo’s overtime loss in 2018.

5 – Notable current NHL players with ties to Japan, including Kraken forward Kailer Yamamoto and Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki who was selected by the Golden Knights with No. 13 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft (also Akito HiroseKiefer Sherwood & Jordan Spence). Ichiro Suzuki made his MLB debut at T-Mobile Park on April 2, 2001, and became the first Japanese-born position player in league history. Yutaka Fukufuji was the first Japanese-born player to dress in at least one regular-season or playoff NHL game.

4 – Regular-season outdoor games that Golden Knights assistant coach John Stevens has been involved in, including the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic. He was an assistant coach with the Kings for the 2014 Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium as well as the 2015 Stadium Series at Levi’s Stadium and served in the same capacity with the Stars for the 2020 Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium.

Download the attached PDF to view charts showing regular-season outdoor NHL game experience for current Kraken and Golden Knights players (min. 1 GP in 2023-24).

* A total of 14 players born in Washington state have dressed at least one NHL game (regular season or playoffs), including Kraken forward Kailer Yamamoto as well as Stanley Cup winners Wayne HicksTyler Johnson and T.J. Oshie. Yamamoto and his brother, Keanu, were taught how to skate by Johnson’s mother, Debbie.

* Wild assistant coach Patrick Dwyer, who was selected by the Atlanta Thrashers with the No. 116 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft and skated parts of seven seasons in the League from 2008-09 to 2014-15, was born in Spokane and raised in Great Falls, Montana. Penguins assistant coach Ty Hennes lived in Kent during his youth but was born in Dickinson, North Dakota.

* Washington will be the 16th U.S. state to host at least one regular-season outdoor game, while New Jersey is set to become the 17th when the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series takes place at MetLife Stadium from Feb. 17-18. Washington, D.C., and five Canadian provinces have also hosted.

* T-Mobile Park will be the fifth Washington state-based venue to host a game involving the Kraken. Seattle contested three neutral-site preseason contests in “The Evergreen State” ahead of its inaugural season while renovations at Climate Pledge Arena were being completed – these took place at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane on Sept. 26, 2021, Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on Oct. 1, 2021 and Accesso ShowWare Center in Kent on Oct. 2, 2021.

* Hockey participation in Washington state has nearly doubled since the Kraken’s inaugural campaign, going from 6,793 players in 2020-21 (the final season before Seattle’s debut) to 11,876 in 2022-23. That includes a jump from 943 to 1,936 for female participants.

* The history of pro hockey in Seattle dates back over 100 years before the Kraken contested their inaugural season, while major junior teams have been based in “Emerald City” since as early as 1977.

* The Seattle Metropolitans contested nine seasons in the PCHA from 1915-16 to 1923-24, which included becoming the first U.S.-based team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917 as well as competing in the 1919 and 1920 Final. Hockey Hall of Famers Frank FoystonHap HolmesLester PatrickDoc Roberts and Jack Walker were some of the notable players to dress for the Metropolitans, who folded following the closure of Seattle Ice Arena in 1924.

* Seattle-based pro teams competed in each iteration of the Pacific Coast Hockey League after construction of the Civic Ice Arena was completed in 1927.

* The final iteration of the PCHL became the Western Hockey League in 1952 (not to be confused with the current major junior loop of the same name) and the pro circuit included Seattle-based teams. U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Billy and Roger Christian – brothers who won gold at the 1960 Winter Olympics where several games were played outdoors – played pro in Seattle. Billy’s son, Dave Christian, appeared in the “Miracle on Ice” and played 15 NHL seasons.

* Seattle won the Lester Patrick Cup as league champions three times (1968, 1967 & 1959) and contested several exhibition games against NHL teams before joining the Central Hockey League for their final season in 1974-75.

* The Kamloops Chiefs became the Seattle Breakers in 1977, marking the city’s first major junior team. The Breakers contested one season in the Western Canada Hockey League before it became the WHL and were renamed the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1985. The Thunderbirds captured their second Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions in 2023 (also 2017) and made their third Memorial Cup appearance (also 2017 & 1992), falling to the Patrick Roy-led Quebec Remparts in the final.

* Other WHL teams based around Seattle include the Everett Silvertips (2003-04–Present) and Tacoma Rockets (1991-92–1994-95). Notable players to dress with major junior clubs based in the Seattle metropolitan area include Golden Knights teammates Keegan Kolesar and Shea Theodore, fellow Stanley Cup winners Glenn AndersonKen Daneyko and Chris Osgood, Calder Memorial Trophy recipient Mathew Barzal as well as the NHL’s all-time games played leader Patrick Marleau.

Photo of Theodore (left) & Kolesar (right) via @SeattleTbirds

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