ST. LOUIS (AP) Before the Rams left town in January, the St. Louis Blues were in line to get an outdoor NHL stadium series game - but not the big one.

Team Chairman Tom Stillman credits the NHL for recognizing the city sorely needed a shot in the arm and scheduling the Blues against the Chicago Blackhawks for the Winter Classic on Jan. 2.

Commissioner Gary Bettman, executives from both teams and former players attended a news conference at home plate at Busch Stadium in the first public forum since the announcement.

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This will be the first experience of outdoor hockey for the city.