Pittsburgh Penguins to play Boston Bruins in 2023 Winter Classic, source says
April 14, 2022
The Pittsburgh Penguins reportedly will play the Boston Bruins in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park on January 2, as per Kevin Weekes of ESPN.
The upcoming Winter Classic is the second time the event hosted at Fenway Park since its first edition in 2010 and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shared his excitement earlier this year in February about the upcoming Winter Classic, adding Boston is a “great hockey town.”
"It's been 12 years since we were at Fenway. A lot of money has been put into the building, it's not quite the same ballpark. Boston is obviously a great hockey town. We've now done over 30 outdoor games; if you want to keep doing them, you have to go back to some places,” Bettman said.
The game between Pittsburgh and Boston is one that is shrouded in huge speculation prior to a source who had informed Weekes of the said game. Apparently, it was not based on thin air and might be an accurate one since Fenway Sports Group, which happens to own Fenway Park, had purchased a controlling stake of the Penguins in November 2021 among other sports entities.
Pittsburgh, Boston ahead of 2023 Winter Classic
Slowly heading to the next Winter Classic both Pittsburgh and Boston did not come empty-handed. The visiting Penguins will mark their third Winter Classic, which previously made an appearance in the 2008 inaugural edition at the then Ralph Wilson Stadium and now the Highmark Stadium. Three years later at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh hosted the Washington Capitals.
As for Boston, the organization will play its fourth Winter Classic appearance, closing in behind the current record holder of the most event in history, the Chicago Blackhawks. Additionally, this will be the third time the franchise to host the Winter Classic and also the second time at Fenway Park.
Moreover, Bettman has revealed a few details of the event adding it will “be a new experience” from the previous ones.
“It won't look and it won't be the same, (NHL chief content officer) Steve Mayer won't allow it, as it was last time. It'll be a new experience in a venue that has been transformed and modernized in some ways. We think it'll be a great event,” Bettman explained.
Fenway is known by NHL enthusiasts as the iconic home of the Boston Red Sox. The franchise is owned by American businessman and investor behind Fenway Sports Group, John Henry. Therefore, the 2023 Winter Classic will feature both the Henry-owned team and venue against a Boston opponent, that is the Bruins.
Although, the NHL has yet to announce the Bruins’ opponent at the time of writing this article, Bettman only entertained such a question by saying “you'll have to speculate on who the opponent will be."
The Florida Panthers’ chief commercial officer Shawn Thornton who played as a forward for the Bruins recalled his time playing for the franchise in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, adding it as one of his best NHL memories.
"Walking out of the (Red Sox) clubhouse following Bobby Orr out onto the ice, one of the greatest memories I'll ever have," Thornton recalled.
"It's such an iconic venue. It's got such great history. When you're able to play there and embrace it, it's awesome. I loved it. And now Steve is doing a really good job of pushing the envelope and making sure they're doing bigger and better things."