Flyers, Bruins to go head-to-head in next season’s Winter Classic

With Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima playing catch in the outfield and a bright blue summer sky hovering over Fenway Park, Boston Bruins defenceman Aaron Ward stood on the infield of the major leagues’ oldest ballpark and pretended to be miffed.

Boston Bruins players

BOSTON — With Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima playing catch in the outfield and a bright blue summer sky hovering over Fenway Park, Boston Bruins defenceman Aaron Ward stood on the infield of the major leagues’ oldest ballpark and pretended to be miffed.

“That’s how they got me down here,” he said. “They told me I was taking batting practice.”

Not exactly.

The NHL announced on Wednesday that the Bruins will play the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway on New Year’s Day in the annual Winter Classic, an outdoor game that has become one of the league’s signature traditions since it began in 2008.

Unlike previous years, when the annual outdoor game was played at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium and Chicago’s Wrigley Field, this season’s NHL matchup will be part of a festival that will include public skating and a college hockey game.

Organizers are still working on bringing Hockey East rivals Boston College and defending NCAA champion Boston University to Fenway in the days after the Winter Classic, according to a person involved in the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was not final.

“Boston is a perfect fit for the Classic,” mayor Tom Menino said, adding that the public skating will “give families and children a chance to experience the ice just like their favourite players.”

Judging from the reaction of the Bruins and Flyers who attended the announcement, it will be a thrill for them as well. The players marvelled at the field around them, posed for pictures at home plate and in front of the Green Monster and even went inside the manual scoreboard built into the famous left-field wall.

Ward, an admitted washout as a childhood baseball player, said he couldn’t imagine how else he would be able to stand on the field.

“I’ve been everywhere on the outskirts of this building,” he said. “If you’re from Boston, you know the weight the Red Sox have and the weight Fenway Park has.”

Flyers backup goalie Brian Boucher, a native of Woonsocket, R.I., grew up as a Red Sox fan and has tickets to see them play later this month. “That makes it even more special,” he said.

Hall of Famer Cam Neely, who retired from the Bruins in 1996 and now works in the front office, remembered playing outdoors in Moose Jaw, Sask., and wished the NHL had played an outdoor game in his days.

“I don’t think there’s a player today or past that wouldn’t have loved to play in this game,” he said.

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… Continue reading

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month