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Classique hivernale de la LNH) is an annual regular season outdoor ice hockey game played in the National Hockey League (NHL) on or around New Year's DayThe NHL Winter Classic (French: La Classique hivernale de la LNH) is an annual regular season outdoor ice hockey game played in the National Hockey League (NHL) on or around New Year's Day, generally in a football or baseball stadium in an area with a resident NHL team. The Winter Classic is distinct from the league's two other series of outdoor games, the NHL Heritage Classic and the NHL Stadium Series. The first Winter Classic was held in 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium (now Highmark Stadium) in Orchard Park, New York, between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins. Thirteen Winter Classics have been held as of January 2022. The most recent game was played during the 2021–22 NHL season at Target Field, with the St. Louis Blues defeating the Minnesota Wild 6–4. After the success of the Cold War at Michigan State University in 2001 and the 2003 Heritage Classic, the NHL's first regular season outdoor game, the league inaugurated the Winter Classic in 2008. It eventually caught on as an annual tradition for the league, suspended in 2013 due to 2012–13 NHL lockout and 2021 due the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2014 game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings set a new NHL attendance record of 105,491. The Winter Classic has been contested only in the United States, while the Heritage Classic has been held exclusively in Canada. The Winter Classic featured only American teams for its first five games, until the Maple Leafs' appearance in 2014. Along with the NHL All-Star Game, the Winter Classic is considered one of the NHL's premier events; with matchups generally booked to showcase the league's most popular teams and players, the event garners the league its highest attendance and among its highest television ratings. The event is typically promoted as a return to the sport's outdoor roots, meant to evoke memories of pond hockey. Its popularity has led to the scheduling of additional outdoor hockey games, both in the NHL and other leagues worldwide. In May 2014, the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily named the Winter Classic its "Sports Event of the Year," the second time in five years the Classic has won that distinction.The Winter Classic was last played on January 1, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The game featured the Minnesota Wild against the St. Louis Blues. This game was supposed to be played in January 2021 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.