There are very few annual events that approach the level of coolness that is the NHL’s Winter Classic, and the NHL announced all the details of next year’s matchup on New Year’s Day. Everyone knew it would be at Fenway, and feature the Bruins and Flyers, but it became official today. Here’s the release….
The National Hockey League’s annual outdoor game will return on New Year’s Day with the Boston Bruins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park — home of the Boston Red Sox — in the 2010 Bridgestone/NHL Winter ClassicTM. The Eastern Conference rivals will face-off at 1 p.m., ET in the classic, which received the SportsBusiness Journal “Sports Event of the Year” award for its inaugural edition in 2008.
“A unique event deserves a unique venue, and we are delighted the Bruins and Flyers will renew their rivalry with the ‘Green Monster’ providing the backdrop,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We welcome our fans, our teams, our sponsors and the great city of Boston to this annual celebration of our sport.”
Bridgestone brand will return as the title sponsor, showcasing its status as the Official Tire of the NHL® and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) to a broadening viewing audience. Last season’s 2009 Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic attracted 5.6 million North American TV viewers and gathered more than 750,000 visitors on NHL.com. The 2009 event at Chicago’s Wrigley Field drew 41,818 to the historic ballpark, with demand for tickets exceeding 240,000.
The 2010 Bridgestone/NHL Winter Classic will be the third regular-season outdoor NHL game played in the United States (the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Year’s Day 2008, and the Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day last season), and the fourth regular-season outdoor game in League history (the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 22, 2003).
NBC will provide live broadcast coverage of the game in the U.S. In Canada, CBC and RDS will televise the event live. NHL Radio and SIRIUS XM Radio will provide radio coverage and NHL.com will provide extensive digital video coverage.
I can’t reiterate this enough, but the Winter Classic is the perfect pregame to all of the New Year’s Day College Football games later that afternoon. The fact that they made it two Eastern rivals, and put it at one of the most famous stadiums in America, is just icing (pun intended) on the cake. I’m still hoping for a Pens-Caps matchup on the National Mall in the future, but next year’s contest should be just as fun.