Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fenway--It's Not Just for Baseball Anymore

Well, it's finally official. Hockey is coming to Fenway Park this winter. The Boston Bruins will take to the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 1, 2010, in the Winter Classic. The makeshift rink, which will be laid on the edge of the infield between first and third bases, will be open for public skating for two days and may also host a BC-BU game. Hopefully, some snowflakes will be fluttering down under the watchful eye of the Citgo sign to set the proper mood for the festivities. It would have been cooler if the Bruins were facing off against the Canadiens, but NBC, who is broadcasting the game, undoubtedly preferred an American market for the opponent. 

It will be interesting to see what views are like of the rink inside Fenway Park. My guess is it will be pretty similar to baseball games where the left-field grandstand seats provide some of the best perspectives and far right-field grandstand will be fairly lousy. Bleacher seats won't be close to the action but might be a decent value. One difference is that the field box seats probably won't be the best seats in the house since they will be too low to get a great view of the action.

While Fenway Park is known as a baseball cathedral, the Winter Classic will by no means be the first time a non-hardball sporting event has taken place in the shadows of the Green Monster. The Patriots played in Fenway between 1963 and 1968, and Boston College and Boston University took to the gridiron there as well. Other pro football teams that called Fenway home were the Boston Bears, the Boston Shamrocks, the NFL's Boston Redskins (before they moved to Washington) in the 1930s, and the Boston Yanks in the 1940s. (Can't imagine Fenway hosting a team called the "Yanks" these days, can you?) The Boston Beacons of the North American Soccer League played home games at Fenway in 1968. The ballpark even hosted a basketball game in July 1954 between the Harlem Globetrotters and George Mikan's All-Stars and a professional wrestling card on June 29, 1969, that featured George "the Animal" Steele. 

For more information on the Boston Bruins, the history of Fenway Park, and the long-lost history of outdoor hockey in Boston (there's another stadium in Boston that once hosted outdoor hockey), check out The Die-Hard Sports Fan's Guide to Boston.

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