Fenway Park Reportedly Hosting 2010 Winter Classic
And now, it's coming to Boston. At least that's what the Boston Herald is reporting this morning. That shot you see to the right is an artist's conception of what Fenway will be looking like come next New Year's Day when the reigning Eastern Conference Champions will get to host the 2010 NHL Winter Classic.
I went to the 2009 edition in Chicago, and trust me on this: Outside of the Stanley Cup Finals, there's no other hockey event you'd rather be at.
According to Herald reporters Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa, the finalists to host the 2010 edition of the Winter Classic were Boston, New York and Philadelphia, with Fenway getting the nod over Gillette Stadium in Foxboro thanks to uncertainty over whether or not the New England Patriots might need the field clear for an AFC Playoff Game.
If the report is accurate, it's hard to argue with the choice. Out of the three cities reported to be the finalists, Fenway is the venue that packs the most powerful punch -- one punctuated by equal parts of history, charm and Americana. Now, I'm sure there will be more than a few folks who will quibble with the choice, especially coming just one year after the game was held at America's other great cathedral of baseball, Wrigley Field.
Then again, unless the league figured out a way to somehow construct a temporary rink in the middle of Central Park in Manhattan for the Rangers and Canadiens to use, I'm more than fine with spending a shivering afternoon in Boston, an NHL city that also deserves the game thanks to the dramatic resurgence the Bruins have enjoyed over the last two seasons.
But now that we know where the game will be played and which team will host it, the next logical question has to be which team will get to visit Boston to get the opportunity to be the third visiting team in a row to steal the Winter Classic on enemy ice? Sidney Crosby already got his chance with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008, and I don't doubt that when Philadelphia gets its eventual turn, that the Penguins will be more than logical guests.
The natural choice for the visiting team would have to be the aforementioned Canadiens, Boston's longtime antagonist and natural rival. But we need to remember that NBC Sports will have a say in this decision too, which leads me to beleive that the league's reigning MVP, Alex Ovechkin, and his teammates with the Washington Capitals ought to be the league's top pick.