- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be the Boston Bruins’ opponent in the 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park on Jan. 2, a source told ESPN’s Kevin Weekes.
It’s the second time the Winter Classic will be held at Fenway Park. It previously hosted the Winter Classic in 2010, when the Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime.
“It’s been 12 years since we went to 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,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in February.
There was heavy speculation that the Penguins would be the Bruins’ opponent in the event, given that Fenway Sports Group, which owns Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox and other sports entities, purchased the Penguins in December 2021.
This is the third Winter Classic for the Penguins, who appeared in the inaugural edition in 2008 at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium and hosted the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field in 2011. Overall, this will be the Penguins’ sixth outdoor game, tying the Chicago Blackhawks for the most in NHL history.
It’s the first time the NHL has reused a venue for an outdoor game. Bettman said that was naturally going to happen, given how many outdoor events the NHL has held since the first Winter Classic. One difference between the first Fenway Classic and the 2023 edition is the presence of NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer, who wasn’t with the league in 2010. Mayer has been a driving force behind the aesthetic and fan experience improvements at the NHL outdoor games.
The NHL previously announced that the Carolina Hurricanes will host a Stadium Series game in 2023 at Carter-Finley Stadium, home of the NC State Wolfpack in Raleigh, North Carolina. It will make the Hurricanes the 28th NHL team to participate in a regular-season outdoor game.
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