Citi an 'iconic' setting for NHL Winter Classic

Rangers, Sabres to square off in outdoor event on New Year's Day 2018

Citi an 'iconic' setting for NHL Winter Classic

NEW YORK -- Hours before the Mets took on the Reds at Citi Field on Friday, employees erected an oval of signs stretching nearly from foul line to foul line, approximating where the rink will be when the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres square off in the 2018 NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

Members from both teams, the NHL and the Mets were on hand to promote the event, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary at Citi Field. It will be the NHL's first Winter Classic in New York City, following stops in Buffalo, Boston, Chicago and other cities around the country.

"Our clubs love participating in these games," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Our fans love attending them, and iconic venues like Citi Field are anxious to host them."

"Having two great franchises from the state is something that we're really excited about," Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon added. "I've bothered, badgered, pleaded with Commissioner Bettman for years to have this event here. Thank you for finally allowing us to host it."

Both Wilpon and Bettman spoke of how natural it seems to hold a Winter Classic in New York, mere miles from the iconic Times Square ball drop. A short night's sleep after that event, the Rangers and Sabres will report to Citi Field for an outdoor hockey game.

"It just seems like there isn't going to be a bad sightline for any fan," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "You're going to be able to see the game pretty close and take in what should be a great experience. And the players, you never know when you're going to get an opportunity like this again. So we're very fortunate, the Sabres and the Rangers, to represent this year's game at the Winter Classic. We're going to do our best to put on a good show."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.