The 2010 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park seemingly went off without a hitch. The rain and snow held off and it was clear skies and reasonably comfortable temperatures and good ice conditions for the NHL's annual outdoor game. Despite a few bad sight lines and some early 20th century comforts of Boston's quaint little ballpark in January, I don't think there were many hockey fans that left the game disappointed. From the game's pre-game ceremony that featured hockey legends Bobby Orr and Bobby Clarke, a fly-over by a Stealth Bomber, and musicial acts The Dropkick Murphys, James Taylor, and Daniel Powter to the post-game Olympic announcement that ended with Tim Thomas emerging from the Red Sox dugout wearing a USA Olympic jersey, this game was something special that sports fans in Boston and the players themselves will be talking about for years to come.
"I won't forget today for as long as I live....Absolutely incredible."
- A Bruins fan I spoke with after the game
"As one of the NHL's Original Six franchises in a city steeped with sports history, there was no one better than the Boston Bruins or the City of Boston to play host to this extraordinary event. Watching hockey in its most pure and elementary form outdoors at historic and beloved Fenway Park is a treat not only for all of the citizens of Boston but for hockey lovers around the world. I thank the National Hockey League and Commissioner Bettman for bringing the 2010 Winter Classic to the City of Boston and helping all of us ring in this New Year in grand style."
- Boston Mayor Thomas Menino
"This was a terrific day. The 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was played in a perfect setting by the world's best athletes for the world's greatest fans -- and the response was overwhelming. Thanks to Dan Craig and his crew for creating outstanding ice. Thanks to Don Renzulli and the NHL Events group for creating a magnificent spectacle. Thanks to the teams, to the city of Boston -- and to the Red Sox for having welcomed our New Year's Day tradition so graciously."
- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
"The experience is once-in-a-lifetime. It's not just being a cliché. Fenway Park, Bruins, Flyers, 40,000 fans on a perfect day, you couldn't ask for anything better for the game of hockey. It was just an unbelievable experience to be a part of it, for our organization, for our players, for the fans; it was a great day of hockey."
- Flyers Head Coach and Franklin, MA native Peter Laviolette
"You know, this is my second one, but there was no doubt, there was something special about this park that kept you in awe."
- Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien
"Yesterday personally walking out when it was snowing was an amazing feeling, that first time walking out there. It was really cool."
- Mark Recchi talking about practicing at Fenway for the first time
I thought just walking out today, even, with all of the fans in the seats, gave it a little taste of what a baseball player would feel like, and that's cool for me, because I grew up playing baseball, also.
- Tim Thomas
"I think it was the first shift, I almost missed it, I was looking around so much...When you walk in, and even at the start of the game, yeah, it was incredible."
- Marco Sturm
"You know, to be able to be named at your home crowd, but at Fenway Park, I mean, you add those things together, and I mean, this is a story that will be told for the rest of my life."
- Tim Thomas on being named to the U.S. Olympic team
Former Flyers enforcer Dave Schultz even got what he asked for:
"I'm sure we will have a great show and hopefully the first major in one of these events...That means a fight"
- Dave Schultz during Wednesday's Hot Stove Discussion