Published May 2, 2013

Times wires

The Blackhawks and Penguins will play a regular-season game at Chicago's Soldier Field on March 1 as part of an expanded series of outdoor games next season, the NHL announced Wednesday.

The series, which had been widely reported in recent weeks but not confirmed, is expected to also include games in New York, Los Angeles and Vancouver. The league said it will announce the other games in the coming weeks.

Since 2008, when the NHL held its first New Year's Day Winter Classic in Buffalo between the Sabres and Penguins, teams and cities have been clamoring to host outdoor games. The games have generated big TV audiences, healthy merchandise sales, and opportunities to sell extra sponsorships and tickets.

The league previously announced next season's Winter Classic, the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan's stadium.

Blackhawks-Penguins will be the second outdoor game in Chicago. The 'Hawks played the Red Wings in the 2009 Winter Classic in front of 40,000 at Wrigley Field. The capacity of Soldier Field, the Bears' stadium, is more than 60,000.

The Penguins also played in the 2011 Winter Classic against the Capitals at the Steelers' Heinz Field.