I'm not the biggest hockey fan in the world, but it is a sport I have always enjoyed. Especially once football is done it is the one sport I can watch on TV and I tend to get more into it then. My brother-in-law Robert is a life long, die hard Boston Bruins fan. On January 1st the two of us got to spend a day together (something that doesn't happen nearly often enough) with almost 40,000 other screaming fans at Fenway Park watching The NHL Winter Classic hockey game. I've been to a lot of sporting events over the years, but this was by far the single coolest I've ever been able to see live. Even if you are not a hockey fan you've got to admit that the idea of a hockey game being played INSIDE of Fenway Park is damn cool thing!
I have to give a huge thanks to the NHL for hooking me up with a tickets. I got an e-mail from a friend asking me if I liked hockey and when I replied yes, the next thing I knew I was going to the game.
I grew up in New Hampshire so I've seen plenty of outside hockey games. Two years ago when the NHL played their first of these games in Buffalo I thought it was a genius idea. The marketing angles on this game are endless and the fact that it is once a year adds to it all. Whoever came up with it, kudos to you.
It was strange to arrive in the area and see Bruins jerseys everywhere. It was even weirder to see so many Flyers jerseys as well. In a strange twist, there might have been an equal number of fans for both sides which made the time in the crowd even more enjoyable. I personally would have preferred that we played the Canadians so there would have been some deep seeded rivalry, but it was a lot of fun.
There were fans of all ages. Sitting next to us was a dad and his nine year old son from Los Angeles. I got a kick out of him taking a Flat Stanley picture for his daughter back home. No one got out of hand in the crowd and we all united under a nice loud "Yankees Suck" chant at one time that left us all laughing.
Plus, I'll never forget the confused looks on the faces of the hockey players and many of the fans in the stands when the baseball fans in the crowd changed "so good! so good!" along with the Fenway familiar Sweet Caroline.
The NHL Winter Classic was a great game and a great memory. I can't wait for next year!