There was concern that the start time could be pushed back because of rain.
Winter Classic festivities included a game between Blues and Blackhawks alumni Saturday at Busch, and featured some of the NHL’s all-time greats, including Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and Chris Pronger.
The game was originally scheduled for a noon start, with a national broadcast on NBC (KDSK Channel 5 locally; KMOX-AM 1120 is also carrying the game). A crowd of more than 45,000 is expected at Busch Stadium for the first NHL outdoor hockey game in St. Louis.
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The 2017 NHL Winter Classic is the NHL’s 21st regular-season outdoor game, with the Blackhawks playing in a league-record five of them. The list of NHL outdoor games includes eight Winter Classics, seven Stadium Series games, four Heritage Classic games and the NHL Centennial Classic on Sunday in Toronto between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The first Winter Classic was Jan. 1, 2008 when the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.
The NHL’s largest crowd was the 105,491 fans gathered at Michigan Stadium for the 2014 Winter Classic between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs.