This New Years Day, the Bruins will take on the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in the 2016 NHL Winter Classic. Boston will become the first team to host the outdoor game twice, after dispatching the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime at Fenway Park in 2010.
If you were planning on watching this year’s tilt out in Copley Square, you might want to rethink your plans.
Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday that a partnership had been struck between the NHL and the now privately run First Night/First Day to show the game on a big screen in Copley Square, free of charge.
“I am grateful to First Day/First Night and the NHL for teaming up to put on this special event in the city,” Walsh said in a release. “The City of Boston is home to some of the best sports teams and the best fans in the country, and there is no better way to watch the Boston Bruins defeat the Montreal Canadiens than on a big screen TV in Copley Square.”
But by Wednesday, TD Garden officials had called the city and said that NBC would not grant the broadcast license necessary for the event, reports the Globe. A spokesperson for Walsh said the city had been “under the impression that all the logistics had been finalized.” In a joint statement, NBC and NHL said “public viewing gatherings for nationally televised regular-season games are not permissible under NHL media-rights policies.”
Meanwhile, Walsh has entered into a gentlemen’s wager with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre over next week’s game. The stakes are much lower than when Walsh had to fly a Habs flag over City Hall Plaza after the Canadiens eliminated the Bruins from the playoffs in 2014; the losing mayor must say 10 nice things about the other mayor’s city.
Perhaps as a slight to Walsh (or perhaps we’re vastly overthinking this), Coderre includes the Olympic Stadium on his shortlist of great things about Montreal. Despite his best efforts, Walsh failed to keep alive the Boston 2024 Olympic bid, which included an Olympic stadium in his native Dorchester.
The Winter Classic kicks off at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 1.
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