Fenway Park Proves To Be A Perfect Winter Classic Venue Once Again

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Fenway Park demonstrated why it’s the first repeat venue for an NHL Winter Classic and produced another classic.

The NHL-leading Bruins welcomed the Pittsburgh Penguins for the most black and gold Winter Classic we’ve ever seen. Both teams were dressed to the nines not just during, but also before the game.

The Bruins showed up looking like they were in the midst of the curse of the Bambino with some throwback Red Sox uniforms.

Meanwhile, the Penguins said, “give us all of the turn-of-the-century newspaper boys hats you have, please.”

They threw on their old-school lids for their team skate the day before the game.

What would a Winter Classic be without some pregame festivities honoring the sporting history of the host city, or in this case, the histories of the Bruins and Red Sox?

Sox batterymates Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield sauntered out to a makeshift mound in the middle of an icy diamond sitting in the shadow of the Green Monster. The Winter Classic always churns out the greatest visuals.

Next were Bs greats Johnny Bucyk and Zdeno Chara.

This was for what the NHL was calling the “first puck pitch.” With Wakefield out here, I thought for sure we were about to see one heck of a knuckle puck.

Nope. Out came not just a Bruins icon, but a hockey icon: No. 4 Bobby Orr, with a twig in hand.

The man who scored one of the most legendary goals in hockey history (the one where he crushed the dreams of Blues fans and soared through the air) sauced one to a crouching Varitek.

Again: the Winter Classic never fails to produce a moment.

Then it was time for the anthem performed by β€” who else? β€” Boston’s Bell Biv DeVoe.

Oh yeah. There was still a hockey game to be played…

The NHL Winter Classic is no Fenway Bowl… in a good way. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Hockey Fans Showed Up In Droves For The Winter Classic

Before the Winter Classic, the most recent event at Fenway Park was the Fenway Bowl. Even though it revived a historic rivalry, hardly anyone showed up for it.

Hey, they missed out on the high-water mark of Deion Branch’s coaching career…

Boston showed its colors as more of a hockey town on Monday. A sellout crowd of just under 40,000 was on hand for what turned out to be a heck of a game,

The Bruins sit atop the entire NHL, while the Penguins went into the Winter Classic clinging to the last wild card spot. While the game didn’t have that intra-division spice, it could be an appetizer for a first-round playoff season.

After what we saw today, let’s all hope that happens.

We had ourselves a tie game with just a couple minutes to go, thanks to goals from Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen and Boston’s Jake DeBrusk.

Then Jake DeBrusk said, “Y’know what? I think I’d like another one of those Winter Classic goals.”

He scored his second of the game late in the third sealing the win for the Bruins, and denying the rest of us 3-on-3 overtime at the Winter Classic.

The Bruins fans in attendance didn’t seem to mind.

Thanks, Jake…

Just a few minutes later. Boston netminder Linus Ulmark tried to give the crowd a real show by going for a goalie goal.

Instead, he iced the puck with a buck-nineteen left on the clock. Not the most sound decision, but entertaining nonetheless.

That came just a few weeks after Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman tried to drill one from 200 feet away and missed as well.

These Bruins goalies just love firing the puck.

The hometown boys got the 2-1 win, while the Penguins missed out on what could prove to be an important two points.

It was another incredible day for the NHL and for that matter the game of hockey. I mean look at the camaraderie on display.

Fenway brings out the best in Bruins fans. Mullett Arena on the other hand…

The NHL’s newest teams will meet in the 2024 Winter Classic. (Getty Images)

Seattle To Host 2024 Winter Classic

Now, how does the league plan to top this Winter Classic? Or, at the very least, follow it up?

By going to Seattle.

That’s right, the Seattle Kraken will host the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2024 NHL Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park, home of the Mariners.

The NHL’s two-newest clubs β€” both of them younger than the Winter Classic itself β€” will take center stage.

I. Can’t. Wait.

If the Kraken don’t pay homage to the Seattle Metropolitans β€” the first US team to win the Stanley Cup β€” I will boycott the game.

Alright, so I won’t boycott, but I would be bummed.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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