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Olympics were factor in Penguins' game at Soldier Field

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 11:24 p.m.
 

Veterans of two Winter Classics, the Penguins were coveted by the NHL for the series of outdoor games next season.

The Penguins will play the Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field, home of the NFL's Bears, on March 1. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m.

NHL chief operating officer John Collins asked the Penguins to participate, and they accepted because of the event's close proximity to the 2014 Winter Olympics, CEO David Morehouse said.

“The last Olympic gold-medal game (2010) had all NHL players and a big (television) audience, so being part of the outdoor game around then was something we liked,” Morehouse said.

“We like to help the NHL with these kinds of signature events.”

The NHL has not yet committed to sending its players to the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, from Feb. 7-23.

The Penguins were visitors at the debut Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2008, and they played host to the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Classic at Heinz Field, which was moved to the New Year's Day evening because of inclement weather.

Playing parts in two previous outdoor games made accepting the NHL's Stadium Series offer easier, Morehouse said.

Details for tickets are being worked out, Morehouse said, but he added the Penguins will get an allotment for the game at Chicago.

The Stadium Series will open with the 2012 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

In addition to Solider Field, other venues tabbed for outdoor games include Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, New York's Yankee Stadium (twice) and B.C. Place in Vancouver.

The Penguins have not ruled out seeking another outdoor game for Pittsburgh, though they have not settled on Heinz Field or PNC Park as the proposed venue.

—Rob Rossi

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