The Reuters global sports blog
For the third straight year, the National Hockey League hit all the right notes at its annual outdoor extravaganza at one of baseball’s most revered shrines: Fenway Park. The Boston Bruins fought back to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime in front of nearly 40,000 fans.
“It was neat,” Boston defenseman Derek Morris said. “We were trying to yell and scream to each other, but you couldn’t hear yourself it was so loud. It was amazing. We wanted to win that game for the fans. It’s a fairy-tale ending. It was pretty special.”
While backyard and frozen pond hockey are ubiquitous parts of the Canadian winter landscape, the NHL borrowed the concept from U.S. college hockey. The 2001 “Cold War game” between arch rivals University of Michigan and Michigan State University set the world record for the largest crowd at an ice hockey game at 74,544.
In 2003, the NHL played its first regular season game outdoors in Edmonton. It featured the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens. The event was later re-branded “Winter Classic”.