It’s official. The National Hockey League announced on Wednesday the match-up for the 2016 Bridgestone Winter Classic. The annual New Years Day game day will feature two of the oldest rivals in the League in the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium, the home of the NFL’s New England Patriots. The NHL debuted the annual event in the ’07-’08 season in a game that saw the host team, the Buffalo Sabres, lose against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
Representatives from the NHL, Bruins, Canadiens, the New England Patriots, as well as the NHL Players’ Association and Bridgestone gathered together in a press conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts to discuss and detail plans for the 2016 Winter Classic. The event will be televised live on NBC, Sportsnet, and TVA Sports at 1 pm ET.
The Bruins will become the first team to host the NHL Winter Classic twice, having already done so once in at the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime. The Montreal Canadiens will also become just the second Canadian team to play in a Winter Classic since the Toronto Maple Leafs did so in 2014.
In addition, a special alumni game will be held by legends from both Boston and Montreal clubs on New Years’ Eve.
Canadiens’ owner and CEO, Geoff Molson had this to say:
“The Boston Bruins are one of our oldest rivals and the history between our two clubs is unparalleled. They were our logical opponent for our Centennial game in December 2009, and to make history together once more by returning to hockey’s roots in an outdoor setting is something everyone throughout our organization is greatly anticipating. That the setting for the game will be Gillette Stadium, home to an iconic franchise like the New England Patriots, only adds to what we’re certain will be an incredible and memorable atmosphere for players and fans alike.”
The Bruins and Canadiens have faced off 729 times during the regular season, tied for the most head-to-head meetings by any two teams in NHL history. Their 177 head-to-head playoff games and 34 postseason series also are the most in League history, while their nine head-to-head Game 7’s lead all teams in North American major professional sports, including the MLB, NBA, and NHL.