Bruins, Habs Converge on Gillette Stadium Turf for 2016 Winter Classic Preview

The 910th meeting between Boston and Montreal will be their first played outdoors.

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Amidst the sweltering, swampy heat, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman promised there will soon be hockey—and it will be spectacular.

The 2016 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic will feature longtime rivals Bruins and Montreal Canadiens facing off in their 910th match-up at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on New Year’s Day. It will be the first time the two teams will meet outdoors.

“After all the years and all the games between these two teams, the Bruins and the Canadiens will add to the legend of their competition in a unique way,” Bettman said, “and we couldn’t be happier that our third Winter Classic between Original Six teams will take place in this outstanding stadium, Gillette Stadium—the home of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.”

Bettman said that an alumni game will take place on December 31, celebrating the rivalry’s nine decades of history. The commissioner also said there would be “all-access programming” leading up to the main event on January 1.

Fresh off a searing Deflategate press conference earlier Wednesday, New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft seemed in much better spirits. After all, the game is the realization of a boyhood dream.

“It was one that first stroked my interest in sports,” Kraft said of the Boston-Montreal rivalry. “By dating myself with this reference, I’ll tell you that I remember as a young boy, being under the covers of my bed late at night with my transistor radio under the pillows, listening to the likes of Milt Schmidt and ‘Sugar Jim’ Henry against ‘Boom-Boom’ Geoffrion and ‘Rocket’ Richard.'”

“So for me, a little kid from Fuller Street in Brookline, listening to those games, and then having these two teams come here, it’s a great thrill,” Kraft said.

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Photo by Kyle Clauss

Bettman and Kraft were joined onstage by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, CEO Charlie Jacobs, president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney, and current players Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug, and Jimmy Hayes. The Montreal delegation included owner Geoff Molson, general manager and Marc Bergevin. Hall of Famers on both sides were in attendance as well, with legendary defenseman Ray Bourque representing the B’s, and lightning-fast sniper Yvan Cournoyer.

While no jerseys were unveiled for either team, speculation fueled by the on-field logos suggests both squads will don their 1925-26 kits.