Behind-the-scenes tour builds excitement for Briere
PHILADELPHIA --Danny Briere is so excited to take part in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, he took a tour of Citizens Bank Park Friday, two days before he and his Philadelphia Flyers teammates are scheduled to practice on the rink here.
Briere, his father Robert and his son Carson took in the sights throughout the ballpark and loved every moment of it.
"I've been here many times watching baseball game and I know how crazy and loud the fans get in this place," Briere told NHL.com. "I can't wait to be on the field or on the ice (to) experience what it is to have 45 or 50,000 people all the way around."
Briere skated in the 2010 Winter Classic in Boston, but said going into that game, he had his doubts about what the event would be like. But after skating around Fenway Park, Briere had his opinion changed 180 degrees.
"The first time around I thought it was just going to be like every other game. Maybe a little gimmicky. It's going to be tough following our routine and that stuff. Then, looking back after the game was over, I remember thinking this was one of the best experiences of my career. This time around I'm trying to soak it all in and try to enjoy every single minute." --Danny Briere on playing in the Winter Classic
"The first time around I thought it was just going to be like every other game," he said. "Maybe a little gimmicky. It's going to be tough following our routine and that stuff. Then, looking back after the game was over, I remember thinking this was one of the best experiences of my career. This time around I'm trying to soak it all in and try to enjoy every single minute."
For Briere, that includes bringing in a ton of family and friends to the game. He says being able to share this experience with those closest to him is what makes the Winter Classic truly special.
"The practice day, the day before, with the family skate, friends and family are going to come on the ice, that's when you get the most memories coming back," said Briere. "I think back to when I was young playing outside with all my friends coming over from the neighborhoods -- that's what I'm looking forward to the most."
He isn't the only one. Robert Briere was in Boston, but said he's going to enjoy this game a little bit more.
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"It's fun for everybody in the family to see Danny on the ice, especially against the Rangers," Robert told NHL.com. "It's going to be a lot different for us being at Danny's place here than being at the hotel when we were in Boston. Have the whole family coming in, it's going to be fun for that."
The Brieres took the time to soak in the atmosphere from a few different vantage points, from the stage built around the ice, behind the benches, as well as the NBC broadcast platform. He said one thing that differed from his experience two years ago at Fenway is the way the fans feel closer to the rink here at Citizens Bank Park.
"In Boston it was a lot wider, the seats were a lot lower, they went low for a longer time," he said. "This one feels like the fans are more on top of us. … I like that better."
Briere also got a view of the locker room his team will use Jan. 2. The Phillies' clubhouse is almost double the size of the Flyers' locker room at Wells Fargo Center, and Briere liked the extra space.
"It's a huge locker room," he said. "Very impressive. I can't wait to see everything with all the equipment hanging up, the jerseys hanging up. I'm excited."
Briere ended his tour ready to lace his skates and jump on the ice immediately.
"This looks really good," he said. "Makes you want to start getting ready for the game right away."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK