Rangers, Sabres to play 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field

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Citi Field will host the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres for the NHL's Winter Classic in 2018.

For the first time, the Big Apple will serve as a backdrop to hockey's signature outdoor series on New Year's Day 2018, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed Tuesday.

The Winter Classic has never before been played in New York City.

This marks the fourth time the Rangers have been featured in an outdoor game.

The franchise were 'visitors' for a pair of Stadium Series matchups at Yankee Stadium in 2014 with the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.

They also played at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park against the Flyers in the 2012 Winter Classic.

Citi Field will become the sixth ballpark to host a Winter Classic, which has rotated between a number of venues over the years.

Buffalo hosted the original Winter Classic in 2008, but the Sabres had not been selected for an NHL outdoor game since.

The NHL's inclusion of the Sabres is seen as a nod for setting the stage for the success of the outdoor concept, which has expanded to more than a dozen NHL cities in the U.S. and Canada.

"The Winter Classic made its debut under snowy Buffalo skies in 2008, and we look forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary of that landmark event by matching the Sabres with their intrastate rivals, the New York Rangers, in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citi Field," Bettman said in a statement.

"With New York City as its host, the renewal of our New Year's tradition will continue to inspire hockey memories for our clubs, our players and our fans."

The most recent Winter Classic was played at St Louis' Busch Stadium between the Blues and Chicago Blackhawks on January 2.