FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As a fan of the NFL's New England Patriots, Brian Flynn has been to Gillette Stadium many times.
He never envisioned he would get the chance to play hockey here.
But with the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic taking place at Gillette on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), that opportunity may become reality for Flynn, a center with the Montreal Canadiens.
"It's exciting for me," he said. "I try to come here to see a preseason game every year and it's such a great stadium. "
Flynn grew up 45 minutes away, in Lynnfield, Mass. He said that is where he fell in love with the game that may now lead him to one of hockey's biggest stages, the Winter Classic.
"I grew up playing on a lot of ponds after school and at night," Flynn said Wednesday during a press conference to promote the Winter Classic. "We'd get the floodlights out there. My uncle and cousins live on a pond right down the street from me, so I'd fly down there after school or late at night on the weekends, get out there and shovel the snow off. That's when hockey is a blast, playing out there all day long with your buddies and you don't even want to go in and get dinner or anything. You just want to keep going."