Your Winter Classic Schedule of Events: A Private Tailgating Party, Meetups, and New Years Day Activities

We’ve got your schedule shaping up for the Winter Classic week of activities.

We’re now less than three weeks away from Winter Classic 2020, which will be hosted on New Years Day at the historic Cotton Bowl here in Dallas.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably already sitting down to sketch out your weekend of activities. What we’ve done here is put together a full list of Winter Classic events leading up to, during, and after the big game on January 1st. Keep this one handy, as we’ll add to it as we see things pop up or more information is released!


The Defending Big D meetup is scheduled for Sunday evening, around dinner time (6 PM - 8 PM officially, but we’ll likely stick around for a while after that to finish watching the Dallas Stars take on the Arizona Coyotes that night on the road) at Craft and Growler. It’s a bar that has arguably one of the best beer selections in town and it’s steps away from Fair Park, which will give you the chance to familiarize yourself with the area before there’s 80,000+ people trying to get to the game on game day.

What you need:

1. Your smiling face! Hockey gear welcome, just know we’ll razz you if you’re wearing a Buffalo Sabres jersey (in the good ol’ fashioned Texas way, of course). We aren’t charging for this event.

2. The first 50 people at the meetup will get one of our brand new koozies! Support your favorite Stars outlet all year long and keep your beverages cool.

3. We’ll have the ability for you to pre-order Jelly Strength shirts that night too. For $30, you’ll get a special green edition of the shirt below and lend support to Brayden, the nephew of Stars’ strength and conditioning coach Brad Jellis, as he fights cancer. He’s in the hardest part of his treatment regiment, so seeing a surge of support among Stars fans will go a long way in lifting up his spirits.

If you can’t be at our event, and want to support him still, go to this link and fill out the form. In the comments box, put “Defending Big D” so we can track those ordering the green version.


If you’re a subscriber at The Athletic, there will be a meetup featuring Sean Shapiro and his Nashville counterpart, Adam Vingan on Monday, December 30th. Though the details are not public at this point, it’d be safe to put a hold on your evening for it.


Just remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself accordingly.


Download the NHL Fan Access App to keep apprised of all of the day-of events! It’ll let you know when things like the Spittin’ Chiclets panel happens with Paul Bissonette, Ryan Whitney, and Jeremy Roenick, or where the Truly bubble hockey tent is located. For a full list of all of the activities that will be part of the Fan Fest that starts at 9 AM, click here.

We’re all bummed out that the NHL put in place a no tailgating mandate (because what’s more Texan than tailgating before a major sporting event?!) But you can purchase a ticket to a private tailgating party happening on the Fairgrounds.

The New Year’s Hockey Kickoff Party Featuring Belfour Spirits will be hosted at the Hall of State, a short walk from the Cotton Bowl entrance, starting a full hour before the games and fun of the Fan Fest (8 AM). This event is appealing for anyone that doesn’t have a ticket for the big game but wants to experience the atmosphere, because you don’t have to have a ticket to the Winter Classic to purchase a ticket for this party. While the Midway will only be open to those with tickets to the game, this party isn’t!

General tickets cost $95 and get you UNLIMITED beer, chef-crafted food, bloody mary and mimosa bar, and tailgate games like cornhole. You don’t have to worry about where to eat or drink before the game — this is your one-stop shop, no work needed pre-game destination.

VIP tickets cost $150 and gives you access to no-wait lines and the Belfour Spirits VIP lounge, where you’ll get to mingle with NHL legends like Mike Modano, Ed Belfour, Craig Ludwig, Jeremy Roenick, and many others.

There will be other surprises for those in attendance at the kickoff party. Check out their Facebook event here and purchase your tickets here!

Members of the Defending Big D staff will be at all of these events. If you see us, come by and say hello! Above all else, Be Loud, Wear Green, and Go Stars!