The Winter Classic is the NHL’s now-annual celebration of ice hockey in its natural and ultimate element — outdoors. Its occurrence every year on New Year’s Day sets the role for the rest of the season in hockey for fans and curious watchers alike.

It is the ultimate even for die-hard professional hockey fans who take pride in seeing their breath and their favorite teams match up. While it might seem like a great time to have an All-Star game, it is played between two regular-season teams.

To accommodate the immense crowds, they use a football or baseball stadium. To date, the highest attendance was in 2014 between Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs with 105,490 fans in attendance.

St. Louis, Missouri is to host the classic in 2017. You may have caught wind of some of the celebration for being chosen as the site of the event with the Cardinals-themed St. Louis Blues gear coming out right now.

While the event got its start officially in 2008, it was initiated with the Heritage Classic in 2003. It may have had a little push from pond hockey’s resurgence in the same time frame. Minneapolis is in a push to teach its younger generation of hockey players to get outside on the ice.

When hockey among kids has turned into a sport played on borrowed and rented ice time by the hour, rather than kids playing hours on end outdoors, the Winter Classic serves as a reminder of role of athletics and sports in kids’ lives.

The idea is that hockey in its natural element is more exciting, exhilarating, and special. Even kids at heart attest to it, and will be showing up for the 2017 St. Louis, MO Winter Classic.