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NHL announces Winter Classic start time moved to 8 p.m.

Winter Classic Hockey

Crews can be seen through the windows of the press box at Heinz Field preparing the ice surface on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010, as work continues for the Winter Classic NHL hockey game between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins to be played in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1. 2011. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


The NHL is delaying the start time of the 2011 Winter Classic. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly broke the news on the NHL Network that the Winter Classic start time would be moved to 8 p.m. on Jan. 1 because of warm weather and the threat of rain. The possibility of a time change had been talked about all week and discussion picked up even more today when the weather forecast didn’t improve at all.

As for the competition the Winter Classic will now face in prime time TV, with it being college football bowl season, the main competition is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl featuring Oklahoma and UConn. While delaying the start of the game is a bit of a bummer, going up against that bowl game in particular is a bit of a blessing in disguise.

Rather than an early afternoon start, getting to play the game under the lights at Heinz Field offers the opportunity to make the rink and the game really shine on the big stage.