Such was the importance of the event in Canada, that Mark Messier received special permission from the New York Rangers to take part in the game despite being the only player still active in the NHL.
The contrasting nameplates had their origin in the 1970's when the Flyers only had one set of white nameplates made up in the days when teams had to add names to their jerseys for national TV games. The Flyers Winter Classic jersey was a white version of their current orange third jersey, and when it was promoted to the primary jersey for 2010, the white Winter Classic jersey was revived as the Flyers new road jersey and remains in use five seasons later.
For the 2010-11 season, the Flyers dropped their previous, modern home and road jerseys and promoted their orange alternate and their white Winter Classic jerseys to become their new primary home and road jerseys, which remain in use now seven seasons later.
Aside from the jerseys, this game is best remembered for being postponed until the evening for more favorable weather conditions only to have it plagued by rain which affected play more than during any other edition of the Winter Classic. It is also remembered for the collision which left star Crosby concussed, an injury which was compounded by another hit shortly thereafter that caused him to miss essentially 14 months of action through March of the following 2011-12 season.
While Toronto's jersey is an attractive one, it did disappoint somewhat, as the Maple Leafs had already worn a virtually identical style previously, that being the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of Maple Leaf Gardens in 1996-97 when a throwback dating from the arena's first season in 1931 was worn twice. The only difference between the two was the white shoulders.
Of note, there is often a legends game in conjunction with the Winter Classic, and in 2014 the Red Wings hosted two such games. For the first time, the teams used a different jersey styles for the legends game than the teams wore for the regular season or even the Winter Classic.
For the first game, The Alumni Showdown, players wore a revival of the white jerseys worn by Detroit for the 2009 Winter Classic, which were based on the 1927 Detroit Cougars sweaters, while Toronto's legends wore copies of their 1975-1992 jerseys when most of their alumni were active players.
Having worn their white 1974-1995 jerseys during their previous Winter Classic in 2011, the Capitals chose not to simply go with the red version of their first Winter Classic and then current alternate throwback jerseys and were in need of a new design.
In all, not enough of a difference from their current jerseys (they didn't even bother to use the retro 1957 version of their Indian head logo) to feel like it was worth the trouble, especially when they had other options from their past such as their original 1926-27 art deco jerseys or their white 1948-1955 style.
Chicago, playing outdoors yet again, has apparently run out of ideas and will be wearing a jersey so similar to the one they wore in the 2015 Winter Classic that only a die hard fan would be able to spot the differences. They have finally opted to go with the 1955-56 version of their team logo and the lowest black waist stripe now extends all the way down to the hem, but the one color numbers and secondary logos contained in the sleeve stripes are back again.
When you factor in the similar white jerseys that Chicago wore for their 2016 Stadium Series game, the Blackhawks have essentially worn the same jersey for their third outdoor game in a row, which is unfortunate, considering they have some untapped styles to draw from, particularly from the 1920s and early 1950s.
Similar to the 2014 Winter Classic in Detroit where the alumni wore different jerseys than the current team, the Blues alumni wore white throwback jerseys in the style first worn by the Blues in the 1968-69 season, only with sleeve numbers (which did not arrive until 1974-75) and one color names on the back. The Chicago alums wore their current red home jerseys for the event.
Despite saying his 2003 MegaStars Game would be his only alumni appearance ever, Gretzky has subsequently played in two more alumni games, although it took 13 years for his second one to happen earlier this season when he played in the 2016 NHL Heritage Classic Alumni Game on October 22 2016, again in an Oilers uniform, and then for the 2017 NHL Winter Classic, this time suited up for the St. Louis Blues on December 31, 2016.
Today's video section is a couple of promos for the 2017 Winter Classic in advance of today's game in St. Louis.