NHL’s Countdown to the Classic Begins

December is here—and the NHL has released its Countdown to the Classic month-long schedule of Classic-related events.

Of note are the four official broadcast dates for HBO’s “24/7” series, as well as intriguing  NHL.com coverage of the rink build (time-lapse video, interactive features, etc.).

Read on for much, much more:

Dec. 3: The first recipe in a series of NHL Winter Classic-themed recipes created by Food Network star and hockey fan Duff Goldman debuts at NHL.com. 
[ed. note: Oh man, a month of recipes from Duff, the Ace of Cakes? I’d better schedule some extra gym time…]

Dec. 7: The January 2011 issue of Vanity Fair, which includes a spotlight on Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and their face-off at the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, hits newsstands nationwide. VF.com will feature behind-the-scenes video of the shoot and  additional photos on Monday, December 6.

Dec. 10: “24/7” billboard unveiled in New York City’s Times Square at the 42nd St. and Broadway corner. [ed. note: NYC fans, email us a photo!]

Dec. 15:  “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” premieres at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

Dec. 22:  Episode 2 of “24/7” airs at 10 p.m. ET / PT on HBO.

Dec. 23:  In their first meeting of the season, the Penguins and Capitals face off at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C..

Dec. 23:  Following the Carolina Panthers v. Pittsburgh Steelers game, the rink build for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic officially begins at Heinz Field and the official time lapse camera coverage begins on NHL.com.

Dec. 24:  The world’s largest mobile rink refrigeration unit – the custom-built 53-foot truck that houses the specialized equipment that will be used to make the rink for the NHL Winter Classic – arrives at Heinz Field; beginning Dec. 24, fans can follow the entire rink-build process through interactive features and extensive coverage on NHL.com, NHL Radio and the NHL Network.  

Dec. 29:  Episode 3 of “24/7 ” airs at 10 p.m. ET / PT on HBO.

Dec. 31:  The NHL will install a NHL Winter Classic Legacy Classroom at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.  The NHL Winter Classic Legacy Classroom is a philanthropic partnership with The Companions in Courage Foundation and NHL Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine. The classroom will be an interactive playroom utilizing innovative communications tools (Cisco WebX and UMI, SMART Tables, flat panel televisions, etc). This classroom will replace the isolation of a hospital with a connection to family, friends and celebrities during each hospital stay. During the Winter Classic, young fans at the hospital will have the ability to connect with players and activities.

Jan. 1:  2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field, live NBC / CBC / RDS broadcasts at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Jan. 5:  Episode 4 of “24/7” airs at 10 p.m. ET / PT on HBO.

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