Fenway Park transforms for NHL’s 14th annual Winter Classic

Jan 1, 2023, 9:32 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2023, 4:10 pm
Boston Bruins' A.J. Greer, right, plays catch in a vintage Boston Red Sox uniform before the NHL Wi...

Boston Bruins' A.J. Greer, right, plays catch in a vintage Boston Red Sox uniform before the NHL Winter Classic hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

              Vendor Patricia Almquist sells programs and souvenirs prior to the NHL Winter Classic hockey game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
            
              Hockey fans wait for the gates to open prior to the NHL Winter Classic hockey game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
            
              Boston Bruins players, from left, Linus Ullmark, Jeremy Swayman, A.J. Greer and Charlie McAvoy walk off the field in vintage Boston Red Sox uniforms before the NHL Winter Classic hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
            
              Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins banners are displayed on the facade of Fenway Park prior to the NHL Winter Classic hockey game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
            
              Hockey fans wait for the gates to open prior to the NHL Winter Classic hockey game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
            
              Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak, right, and Nick Foligno, left, play catch in vintage Boston Red Sox uniforms before the NHL Winter Classic hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
            
              Boston Bruins' A.J. Greer, right, plays catch in a vintage Boston Red Sox uniform before the NHL Winter Classic hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — Fenway Park, the majors’ oldest active ballpark, was transformed into an outdoor hockey arena for the NHL’s 14th annual Winter Classic on Monday afternoon.

With the logos of the two teams — the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins — hanging high atop the seats above the park’s fabled 37-foot Green Monster, the league’s annual marquee New Year’s event returned to Fenway for the second time.

The Bruins rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins behind two third-period goals from Jake DeBrusk.

Those usually clad in red and blue for the Boston Red Sox were replaced by thousands wearing black and gold (actually, the colors of both NHL teams), and they lined up around the soon-to-be 111-year old park hours before the faceoff.

The championship banners of the Red Sox, that usually hang along the outside of the third-base side of the park, were replaced by banners of the Bruins, Penguins and the Winter Classic logo.

About 4 hours before the game, Bruins’ fans lined the gates along the players’ parking lot just behind home plate, looking to get a glimpse of their stars before they entered.

Bruins’ players joined into the baseball theme, too, coming into the park wearing vintage white Red Sox uniforms with “Boston” in red letters across the front. Some played catch in front of the home dugout, which had “Boston Bruins” across the top on the first-base side. The visitors had “Pittsburgh Penguins” on the roof.

“It was a lot of fun. … When we got (the uniforms), it was mind blowing, I loved every second of it,” said Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark, who wore his vintage Sox uniform and cleats to the postgame press conference.

The team’s official souvenir store was filled with Bruins and Penguins Classic gear, with most of the Red Sox stuff pushed to back racks.

The rink stretched from just beyond what’s usually second base across the middle of the diamond, over the pitcher’s mound where Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez worked for the Red Sox, and toward the visitors’ dugout on an unseasonably warm afternoon with temperatures in the upper 40s.

Last season’s Classic was played at Target Field in Minnesota — the home of MLB’s Twins — and saw the temperature drop to minus-5.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before the game, a free concert that featured country music star Sam Hunt was held in a parking lot across the street from Fenway, where fans could play a giant table-top hockey game and take a challenge of ingesting hot sauce before sitting in a penalty box for two minutes along with other free events.

Hunt sang his hit song “23” in his nearly hour-long performance, bringing up the start of 2023.

In an interesting twist to the game’s venue, the Penguins are owned by Fenway Sports Group, which also owns the Red Sox. They were sold to the group that’s headed by Principle Owner John Henry in December of 2021.

So, Boston’s professional hockey team faced Henry’s NHL team in his MLB park.

Some fans picked up on the moment.

“It’s kind of strange, but I knew they were going to play the Penguins,” said Andy Holt, 58, from Merrimack, New Hampshire, who was wearing a Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron No. 37 road jersey.

One fan even had some advice for the Red Sox with star third baseman Rafael Devers after they lost shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who signed a $280-million, 11-year deal as a free agent with the San Diego Padres last month.

“John Henry, the traitor. I don’t love it,” Ally Ryan, 29, from Marshfield, Massachusetts, said of the Bruins facing Henry’s NHL team. “They better sign Devers.”

___

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

New Jersey Devils' Jack Hughes (86) celebrates Jonas Siegenthaler (71), Fabian Zetterlund (49), Nic...
Associated Press

Hughes scores winner in OT to lead Devils past Stars 3-2

DALLAS (AP) — Jack Hughes scored his second goal of the game 20 seconds into overtime, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Friday night. Hughes’ winning goal skipped off the stick of Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and eluded Jake Oettinger as the Devils rallied from a 2-0 deficit […]
21 hours ago
Josephine Lee performs during the women's free skate at the U.S. figure skating championships in Sa...
Associated Press

Teen Isabeau Levito wins U.S. women’s figure skating title

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Teen star Isabeau Levito needed a near-flawless free skate to capture gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships after Bradie Tennell’s beautiful performance minutes earlier. And the 15-year-old Levito accomplished just that, delivering a dazzling 149.55 score for a 223.33 total to win her first women’s national championship Friday night. […]
21 hours ago
Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) is fouled by Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin during the fi...
Associated Press

Heat rally again, top Magic 110-105 to close 3-0 homestand

MIAMI (AP) — Bam Adebayo has a theory. All these close games that the Miami Heat are playing now, in his mind, are providing valuable lessons to draw upon later this season. And the fact that they’re winning a lot of those games right now is an added bonus. Jimmy Butler had 29 points, Adebayo […]
21 hours ago
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett ...
Associated Press

Gilgeous-Alexander has 35, leads Thunder past Cavs 112-100

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points, his fourth consecutive game with at least 30, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-100 on Friday night. Gilgeous-Alexander made 12 of 21 shots and added eight assists and five rebounds. Jalen Williams added 17 points and made all three of his 3-point […]
21 hours ago
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) dunks against Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant ...
Associated Press

Timberwolves top Memphis after moment of silence for Nichols

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 13 of his 25 points in the third quarter as Minnesota extended its lead, D’Angelo Russell added 19 points and the Timberwolves topped the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies 111-100 on Friday night. The Grizzlies took the court minutes after v ideo footage was released of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols being beaten […]
21 hours ago
Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk (7) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Toron...
Associated Press

Tkachuk, Forsberg lift Senators past Maple Leafs 6-2

TORONTO (AP) — Brady Tkachuk scored twice, Anton Forsberg made 31 saves and the Ottawa Senators defeated Toronto 6-2 on Friday night in the Maple Leafs’ first game since losing All-Star Auston Matthews to a knee injury. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Chabot, Drake Batherson and Derick Brassard also scored […]
21 hours ago
Fenway Park transforms for NHL’s 14th annual Winter Classic